2014 was the inaugural year for Kara Goucher’s Podium Retreat, a weekend of running and wellness for women. The retreat included everything from guest speakers on running and nutrition to group runs and fitness as well as plenty of time with Kara herself. Kara spoke with M&B about last year’s experience, and the impact it had on her and other participants.
How did you brainstorm the idea for your first retreat last year?
The idea started a few years earlier when I began to think about what I might want to do when my racing career was over. I knew I wanted to stay involved in the sport in a way that was fulfilling to me. After running in the London Olympics, my friend, Tracey Katona, invited me to be her guest at Canyon Ranch while she taught dance week. I was blown away by what a supportive and safe environment it was for the women. There were first-time dancers and people who had danced their whole lives, but they all supported each other and helped one another grow as individuals. I thought there was a place for that in running – women inspiring and empowering each other and sharing a love of running.
This was a very moving experience for me last year. The women that attended the retreat filled my soul. It reminded me of why I run – the pure joy of it and the friendships it has given me. I felt refreshed and motivated to see what I could get out of the rest of my career. I would say it was an emotional experience for most of the women who attended. We shared personal stories, and we grew together. We learned a lot and had a ton of fun, but we also looked into our hearts and focused in on ourselves. It was incredible, and I’m really looking forward to it again.
Who have been the biggest influences in your running career?
The biggest influences in my running career have always been my teammates or training partners. They are the ones who have gotten me through the hard times and kept me going. My teammates are my best friends to this day. I have also been very lucky that at different parts of my career I have been mentored or guided by Lynn Jennings, Paula Radcliffe, and Joan Samuelson – three of the all-time greats who all reached out to me at some point in my career and helped me with important choices and decisions.
As a professional runner and mom, what is your best advice for women as they balance their running or fitness goals with a demanding schedule and busy family life?
It is difficult to be perfect at everything. My advice is to be the best you can at what you are doing at that moment. Don’t worry about running when you are working or with your family. At the same time, don’t stress about family when you are out on your run. Take that time for you. It’s a balancing act, and it’s not always even, but that’s OK. Just do the best you can and remember that no one is perfect.
This year’s event is October 23-25 in Breckenridge, Colorado. Registration is open for this year’s event at http://www.karagoucher.com/