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/
Elinor Fish is a writer, coach, ultrarunner and expert in mindful running and natural running form. She is dedicated to helping people improve their health and reduce stress through a sustainable running practice. Elinor’s articles and ideas have been featured in Runner’s World, Los Angeles Times, Yoga Journal, SHAPE, Women, Endurance, Trail Runner, Running Times and many others.
After successfully completing Colorado’s infamous Leadville Trail 100 several years ago, I was on cloud nine, dreaming about my next big endurance challenge. While my imagination soared, my body plummeted into depths of exhaustion I’d never before experienced.
I couldn’t seem to recover from Leadville, and almost a year after the race was over, I still struggled to run for even an hour, and soon even that energy dried up. I was exhausted all the time, barely making it through the workweek so I could spend weekends in bed. Sleepless, lethargic and starting to feel depressed, I knew something was seriously wrong, and that I didn’t want to treat with a prescription.
Seeking solutions, I delved deeply into studying what it true health looks like and what factors most greatly influences our well-being.
What I learned changed the way I view running forever.
Continue reading » The idea that brought this runner back from ruin
Running history often notes Roberta Gibb and Kathrine Switzer as among the first American women to run a marathon. However, seven years before Gibb hid in the bushes and snuck into the Boston Marathon in 1966 and eight years before Switzer ran Boston as K.V. Switzer in 1967, Arlene Pieper had finished the Pikes Peak Marathon in 1959. Pieper not only completed one of America’s most challenging marathons, but also became the first official female finisher of a marathon in the United States. Equally impressive was Arlene’s daughter, Kathy, who ran with her mom that day. Kathy reached the summit in a time of 5:44:52, becoming the youngest competitor at that point to finish the race to the summit.
We first met Arlene and Kathy in 2010 at the Pikes Peak Marathon, and we have enjoyed reuniting with them each year since. Every year, both Arlene and Kathy meet new runners at the Pikes Peak expo, and Arlene signs countless photos of her on the summit of Pikes Peak in 1959. Read more about Arlene and/or order a personalized, autographed photo by visiting her website at Arlene Pieper.
Set your DVRs to record PBS at 8 pm on Tuesday, Feb. 27 as Marathon & Beyond friend and running legend Kathrine Switzer opens the film. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, “Makers: Women Who Make America” is “one of the best and far-reaching films about the modern women’s movement.” This new documentary, hosted by Meryl Streep, airs at 8 pm on PBS on Tuesday, Feb 27. Our friend Kathrine Switzer opens the program which documents women like Gloria Steinem, Billie Jean King, Meg Whitman, Rita Mae Brown, Judy Blume, and Aileen Hernandez, to name a few – all women who have made an impact on current history.