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

December 11, 2013


  1. Kelly

    Love it. Good job, sis ❤

    December 12, 2013 @ 5:51 am

  2. BoulderRunner

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

    December 12, 2013 @ 6:13 am

  3. Tim

    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.

    December 12, 2013 @ 7:17 am

  4. Cori @ She's Going the Distance

    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!

    December 12, 2013 @ 3:08 pm

  5. Coach Jim


    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.

    December 12, 2013 @ 3:22 pm

  6. Krystin

    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!!

    December 12, 2013 @ 3:37 pm

  7. Nancy

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

    December 12, 2013 @ 3:49 pm

  8. Carol


    December 12, 2013 @ 4:00 pm

  9. Michelle

    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.

    December 12, 2013 @ 4:24 pm

  10. Sara Schwendinger

    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.

    December 12, 2013 @ 4:26 pm

  11. LizW

    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 :)

    December 12, 2013 @ 4:27 pm

  12. Monica

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

    December 12, 2013 @ 4:27 pm

  13. Minnesota

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

    December 12, 2013 @ 4:28 pm

  14. Tara

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

    December 12, 2013 @ 4:47 pm

  15. Megan Petersen

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

    December 12, 2013 @ 4:51 pm

  16. Ky Madden

    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!

    December 12, 2013 @ 5:03 pm

  17. ColoradoRunGal

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

    December 12, 2013 @ 5:15 pm

  18. Dave

    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!


    December 12, 2013 @ 5:16 pm

  19. Cider

    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!

    December 12, 2013 @ 5:17 pm

  20. Camisa McEwen

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

    December 12, 2013 @ 5:40 pm

  21. Luke

    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.

    December 12, 2013 @ 5:52 pm

  22. Marissa

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

    December 12, 2013 @ 5:58 pm

  23. Katie Coleman

    You are such an amazing woman!!!

    December 12, 2013 @ 6:13 pm

  24. betsy

    Good luck inspire a lot 2014 is your year!

    December 12, 2013 @ 6:19 pm

  25. Laura

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

    December 12, 2013 @ 6:30 pm

  26. sarah

    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 :)

    December 12, 2013 @ 6:48 pm

  27. sarah

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

    December 12, 2013 @ 6:49 pm

  28. Caryn

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

    December 12, 2013 @ 7:02 pm

  29. Jessica

    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!!! :)

    December 12, 2013 @ 7:20 pm

  30. Bill Manning and Laura Lee McIntyre

    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!

    December 12, 2013 @ 7:35 pm

  31. Maria

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

    December 12, 2013 @ 7:36 pm

  32. Micki

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

    December 12, 2013 @ 7:47 pm

  33. Anna

    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!!!

    December 12, 2013 @ 7:50 pm

  34. Deb M

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

    December 12, 2013 @ 8:13 pm

  35. Rodger Kram

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

    December 12, 2013 @ 8:44 pm

  36. Ashley

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

    December 12, 2013 @ 9:18 pm

  37. Jeff

    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.

    December 12, 2013 @ 9:47 pm

  38. Chris C

    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! :)

    December 12, 2013 @ 9:51 pm

  39. Gregory & PJ

    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

    December 12, 2013 @ 10:03 pm

  40. Marybeth Idoux

    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!

    December 12, 2013 @ 10:31 pm

  41. CWR

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

    December 12, 2013 @ 10:40 pm

  42. Jewels

    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. :)

    December 12, 2013 @ 11:01 pm

  43. Lauren

    “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!

    December 13, 2013 @ 12:12 am

  44. Riley

    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!

    December 13, 2013 @ 2:23 am

  45. Jamie Barnhart

    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.

    December 13, 2013 @ 2:56 am

  46. Mark in UT


    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.


    December 13, 2013 @ 4:08 am

  47. Nicole Cefali

    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).

    December 13, 2013 @ 4:11 am

  48. Addy Hallen

    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

    December 13, 2013 @ 5:06 pm

  49. Kelli

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

    December 13, 2013 @ 8:40 pm

  50. Lisa Cao

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

    December 14, 2013 @ 7:33 pm

  51. Mark in Minneapolis

    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.

    December 16, 2013 @ 5:24 am

  52. Not from head

    […] Goucher, maybe the nicest woman in running today, share his decision making process. Lot to learn in […]

    March 26, 2014 @ 10:36 pm

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

    […] Kara Goucher, one of America’s many renouned stretch runners, will lapse to Boulder, Colorado “to finish out my chosen career underneath a module in that we started,” Goucher has announced on her blog. […]

    April 9, 2014 @ 1:28 pm

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