12.11 2013

Follow Your Heart

“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


  1. Kelly on December 12, 2013 5:51 am said:

    Love it. Good job, sis ❤

  2. Thats fantastic news!! it will be great to have you both back in Boulder again. Wetmore and Burroughs strong!

  3. Tim on December 12, 2013 7:17 am said:

    I will miss seeing you run down sky line and inside my car I alway say “go Kara go” so the b
    est of luck in Boulder. My second favorite place beside Portland.

  4. I’m so excited to see what the next few years of your running career has in store for you—Keep working and finish out your career happy, strong and kill your goals!

  5. Coach Jim on December 12, 2013 3:22 pm said:


    The Portland Running Community will miss you greatly. As always, you are welcome to join us in a run anytime. I promise not to let your adoring fans in the group spend too much time coddling you. This group would always go giddy, when they saw you running along the waterfront or Springwater. Many have gone to any appearance you would make at Fit Right. These loyal runners will support you and your decision.

    Jim Mattern, AKA Coach Jim.

  6. Krystin on December 12, 2013 3:37 pm said:

    We Oregonians will miss you here but we will follow along on your new/old 😉 adventure! Way to follow your heart, it’s scary & some aren’t willing to do it! Can’t wait to see what 2014 brings!! Run on!!

  7. Nancy on December 12, 2013 3:49 pm said:

    Best of luck Kara! Always follow your heart…you will never have regrets!

  8. Carol on December 12, 2013 4:00 pm said:


  9. Michelle on December 12, 2013 4:24 pm said:

    I definitely need to work on following my heart more, and you inspire me to do that. I am excited to follow along in your journey.

  10. Sara Schwendinger on December 12, 2013 4:26 pm said:

    Isn’t it amazing how life brings you full circle? Sometimes you have to spread your wings and experience new things so that you can truly find where you belong. It kind of sounds like you are “coming home” in a sense. I wish you continued success. Thank you for sharing your journey with us so that we can come along with you. You inspire me and my running.

  11. LizW on December 12, 2013 4:27 pm said:

    Oh, man! I LOVE telling people that Kara Goucher is from my town. And seeing you at the Turkey Trot was so cool. Best of luck in Colorado. Oregon will miss you 🙂

  12. Monica on December 12, 2013 4:27 pm said:

    Great news. Boulder can’t wait to have you back! Welcome home!!

  13. Minnesota on December 12, 2013 4:28 pm said:

    Very inspiring post. You inspire me not only in running, but in all aspects of life

  14. Tara on December 12, 2013 4:47 pm said:

    Congrats on a big decision! Sometimes a little change is all you need.

  15. Megan Petersen on December 12, 2013 4:51 pm said:

    Whoo hoo! Congrats! So much courage. So excited for you guys.

  16. Ky Madden on December 12, 2013 5:03 pm said:

    When you believe in yourself and the team that surrounds you, there is no limit to the things you can accomplish! Always trust your intuition– you are stronger than you believe! Best wishes in your transition to Boulder!

  17. ColoradoRunGal on December 12, 2013 5:15 pm said:

    Welcome back to Boulder! Best of luck, & I hope to run into you on the roads (or Mags!)

  18. Dave on December 12, 2013 5:16 pm said:

    That’s a nice surprise to find out you are moving to my town. Jenny Simpson sure has run well under coach Wetmore, so hopefully this move will help you attain similar success.

    See you on the trails!


  19. Cider on December 12, 2013 5:17 pm said:

    You continue to be inspirining Kara. I went to CU too and I miss Boulder all the time. Onwards and upwards! I can’t wait to read more about you taking on life’s challenges and following your heart. You rock!

  20. Camisa McEwen on December 12, 2013 5:40 pm said:

    You’re going to do great. Love that you are following your instincts!

  21. Luke on December 12, 2013 5:52 pm said:

    Kara, there aren’t adequate words to describe your amazing achievements so far and the tremendous impact that you have had on running, family-life, sportsmanship and so many other good things. No doubt your sponsors hit a “gold mine” with you and I’m sure many others are lining up for you to endorse their brands. More importantly though, you do it all without compromising your role in your family. This decision, as tough as it was, will take you to a new place in your mind so that new accomplishments and inspiring, memorable, stories will be created as part of your legacy. We are all excited for you!! Wish you and the family all the very best.

  22. Marissa on December 12, 2013 5:58 pm said:

    Good Luck Kara! I know you will do great things! Trusting your heart is the best decision you can make.

  23. Katie Coleman on December 12, 2013 6:13 pm said:

    You are such an amazing woman!!!

  24. betsy on December 12, 2013 6:19 pm said:

    Good luck inspire a lot 2014 is your year!

  25. Laura on December 12, 2013 6:30 pm said:

    You are so brave! Thanks for sharing your story and simple, but powerful edict “Follow your heart.” Great things to come!

  26. sarah on December 12, 2013 6:48 pm said:

    Good luck Kara!! I love the phrase “follow your heart” too – trust your intuition… I’m excited to see what 2014 has in store for you! -from a huge fan 🙂

  27. sarah on December 12, 2013 6:49 pm said:

    PS. Love your new website, it’s awesome!!

  28. Caryn on December 12, 2013 7:02 pm said:

    Beautiful words and inspiration for so many areas of life – thank you! Joining so many others in excitement for you!

  29. Jessica on December 12, 2013 7:20 pm said:

    I love this! I can agree that I have never gone wrong with letting go of everything else and just doing what my heart is telling me. Good luck!!! 🙂

  30. Bill Manning and Laura Lee McIntyre on December 12, 2013 7:35 pm said:

    Sending you our warmest thoughts and best wishes. You have always been one of our favorites, especially as a professional running Mom.
    Bill and Laura Lee and Liam and Ella!

  31. Maria on December 12, 2013 7:36 pm said:

    I love how open and transparent you are! We can learn a lot from you!

  32. Micki on December 12, 2013 7:47 pm said:

    They say you cannot ever leave the Flatirons! Best of luck to you! Be amazing.

  33. Anna on December 12, 2013 7:50 pm said:

    I love you and I am so proud of your courage and willingness to believe in yourself. Counting down the days until you get here!!!

  34. Deb M on December 12, 2013 8:13 pm said:

    Well said! We are excited to have you guys back in Colorado! Love ya

  35. Rodger Kram on December 12, 2013 8:44 pm said:

    Welcome back! Let me know if we can help with any biomechanics issues. You ran on our early Alter-G one Christmas break.

  36. Ashley on December 12, 2013 9:18 pm said:

    Good for you Kara! All of us Coloradans welcome you back with open arms! Can’t wait to watch where your career goes!

  37. Jeff on December 12, 2013 9:47 pm said:

    Exciting news indeed. On a note, I find that you personify what running is all about… truth, honesty, effort and above all character. To me, you put a human face on elite running. From time to time, I have sent off tweets in your direction, received responses or favourites (okay maybe it is a p. r. team working the tweet machine but I’d like to think not) and to have someone of your standing acknowledge… well that is HUGE. Best of luck from frozen Canada.

  38. Chris C on December 12, 2013 9:51 pm said:

    I moved to Boulder after a decade in and around NYC. it’s a bittersweet move. Best of luck to you and your family in this new chapter of your life. and see ya around town! 🙂

  39. We will miss seeing your smiling face charging up and down our humble hill up here, and we’ll especially miss Colt’s amazing self. We bet we still find ourselves expecting to see you as we leave for our own runs in the morning or evening. We’re big believers in self listening. Greg has lots of Boulder experiences and nods in approval of your decision. PJ is a huge supporter of “follow your heart.” While we are Ducks and Oregonians forever, rest assured we will be cheering for you in CO or wherever you may find yourself (and for Adam and Colt too). Your place in history is being secured. Now its time to write the greatest chapter of all. Greg’s mother once wrote him: “When dreams become their people, people become their dreams. Your dreams become you; now go, and become your dreams. Cheers! PJ & Gregory

  40. Marybeth Idoux on December 12, 2013 10:31 pm said:

    Welcome back to Boulder! It was awesome to be apart of the Buffs coaching staff and see how you matured as an athlete…doubly awesome to be able to watch you grow into an amazing inspiration for so many!

  41. CWR on December 12, 2013 10:40 pm said:

    Awesome courage! My favorite book is “Running with the Buffaloes” so go Gouchers!

  42. Jewels on December 12, 2013 11:01 pm said:

    Change is inevitable. Glad you are approaching this with a positive attitude. I am excited to see what 2014 holds for you, as you’ve been quite the inspiration to me as a runner. Seeing how you’ve met challenges in your career and overcome them in so many ways and you still keep going for your dreams. I hope to instill that spirit in myself. Thanks for the inspiration. 🙂

  43. Lauren on December 13, 2013 12:12 am said:

    “Be brave enough to bet on you.” Wow. Thank you so much for the inspiration! I’ll miss watching you and Shalene race together but I’m excited to see your bravery and hopeful determination play out in Boulder. Great new website, too. Marked it in my bookmarks! Hope your move goes well!

  44. Riley on December 13, 2013 2:23 am said:

    Kara! Welcome back to Colorado. You are an inspiration to me! (I have your Runner’s World magazine shoot with Shalane up on my wall!)


    Riley M.
    12 yrs old and future Olympian runner like you!

  45. Jamie Barnhart on December 13, 2013 2:56 am said:

    Kara, you’re amazing! So often I’ve gotten myself in trouble by trying to push against that feeling. However, you know you’ve made the right decision when there’s an unexplainable peace. Keep being the inspiring individual you are! Merry Christmas & may God bless you and your beautiful family abundantly.

  46. Mark in UT on December 13, 2013 4:08 am said:


    Most would not be brave enough to make a change like that in their career, as it is much easier to do what is comfortable and not take any risks. Congratulations for being one of the brave ones.

    I am also embracing change by leaving the company I have been with the last 14 years, and moving on to start my own business. First and foremost, you have to believe in yourself. This is a quality we both seem to share.

    Best of luck on your move back to CO.


  47. Nicole Cefali on December 13, 2013 4:11 am said:

    Trusting our loudest voice, I believe, makes us stronger, and able to believe in ourselves over and over again. Enjoy the journey back and the limitless future in front of you. XO -Nicole and Dave (we met in SF at the Nike expo – you were going to run with dave for his bday present).

  48. Kara-
    You continue to inspire us coaches and our girls! Thank you does not capture our gratitude. As our seniors make college decisions, I will make sure they read your insightful and always genuine words. Wishing you and your family good health, happiness and success on this next journey. BELIEVE!!!
    -Addy with Wayzata Girls XC

  49. Kelli on December 13, 2013 8:40 pm said:

    Kara, your so inspiring! I can’t wait to see you in action in 2014.

  50. Lisa Cao on December 14, 2013 7:33 pm said:

    Wishing you all the best, Kara! You are an inspiration. Happy holidays to you and your family!
    Lisa from Brooklyn, NY

  51. Mark in Minneapolis on December 16, 2013 5:24 am said:

    Good luck, Kara! I’ve followed your running career since you were in high school. Your passion for running, family and life is such an inspiration.

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  53. Pingback: Kara Goucher Leaving Oregon, Returning to Colorado | Colorado News Feed

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