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Ryan - Jan 05 2013 09:28 AM
"I want to win it so bad." Kara Goucher takes on Boston
Marathoners aren't born, they're made, and for Kara Goucher, a 26.2-mile stretch of pavement from Hopkinton, Mass., to Boston is where she's carved out her career as one of America's best long-distance road racers.
Next Monday's Boston Marathon will be the 34-year-old Goucher's third crack at the fabled Patriots Day race, now in its 117th year. In 2009, Goucher was in contention for the win until the final few miles, ultimately finishing third and securing a spot on the podium. She returned two years later and finished fifth, posting a personal best of 2 hours, 24 minutes and 52 seconds. Despite these solid results, Goucher has some unfinished business with the race she loves so much.
Goucher also raced in New Orleans, finishing more than three minutes back in 1:11:49 -- nowhere near her training partner, but it was an encouraging result nonetheless after an injury-riddled winter.
"I'm thrilled," Goucher said after her fifth-place finish in New Orleans. "We figured it would be something in the high 72-73 range, so to run under 72, and feel really comfortable doing it, makes me very excited. I would have loved to go out with Shalane and Mesi [Meseret Defar of Ethiopia] and race with them, but the reality is that I'm coming off an injury and need time to get back there. My big goal is April 15, so I knew if I ran well [in New Orleans] it would continue my upswing toward Boston."
The velocity of that upswing hasn't slowed since New Orleans. On March 29, a little over two weeks out from Boston, Goucher joined Flanagan in the 10,000 at the Stanford Invitational -- her first track race in nearly two years -- and finished second. Her 31:46 clocking was only one second off this summer's World Championship A standard, a result that surprised the skeptical Goucher, whose speed work this spring has been compromised because of a tweaked hamstring. After the race, Goucher said she had been hoping to run 32 minutes and was encouraged with how strong she felt two weeks out from Boston.
"I'm on the upswing big-time," Goucher said. "I took a break over the fall and winter and was slow to come back in January, but [in early February] things started clicking again. I'm excited and I'll definitely be ready [at Boston]."
Goucher hopes her upswing reaches its pinnacle on April 15, when she lines up against a formidable field of fellow world-class road racers on one of the most technical race layouts in the world. Her invaluable course knowledge, combined with the experience of lessons learned and an insatiable hunger to be the first runner across the finish on Boylston Street, might be what pushes Goucher over the top.
"My first year, I felt like I made some tactical errors. My second time there I had a 6-month-old baby, so that was what it was," Goucher said of her previous two Boston experiences. "I know the course really, really well, and I feel like it really suits me well. I love the Boston course. It reminds me of where I grew up and I feel like it was made for me. I just have to get it right on race day because I want to win it so bad."
Kara Goucher will join Shalane Flanagan at the starting line of this years Boston Marathon. I am incredibly eager to see the race. These two will be rocking some pretty sweet USA attire and are both chasing after their dream of winning Boston.
I am particularly excited for Goucher, as she's been let down by injury but has bounced back looking confident and as healthy as could be! This is her third attempt and has put up promising races and times. Not a favorite this time around because of the injury, but I think she'll have the underdog fire in her.
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