Kara Goucher and her bronze at 10,000 meters


The women's 10,000 meters was a monumental race on so many ways in Osaka. Tirunesh Dibaba fell off the pace, and on her reputation and talent, was able to catch up and deal the crushing blow to defend her gold medal. Then, the crew of Goucher, Pavey and Smith, working in tandem, moved up on the first two and fought it out for the final medal...

Kara Goucher had been on my radar screen during her college career and her three NCAA titles were just part of the reason. She raced hard, she finished hard and she knew how to compete.

After college came nearly four years of injuries, injuries that would have made a lesser person give up. Then came the summer of 2006, when Kara Goucher and Lauren Fleshman duked it out over the last 600 meters of the 5,000 meter championships! What a race. Kara looked back to her old self, racing with confidence and poise and running in the hot and humid conditions of Indy.

Later that summer, Kara Goucher ran 31:19 for 10,000 meters, the second fastest ever by an American. She did that in Helsinki as a group of elite women looked for a fast qualifier for Osaka. Goucher had her qualifier.

The following year, Kara showed some signs of brilliances, but mostly, it was the training with Alberto Salazar's group. The beauty of Alberto's program, in my mind is that the athletes know that they have done everything they should in training so they have no recriminations, no worries. They can focus on the racing, and keeping their energy up for training.

When intereviewed after her Osaka race, Kara told the assembled media that she spends seven to nine hours a day in training or preparing for training. That is a full time, professional athlete. From the swimming in the pool, to the lifting, to the warm ups, Kara focused, with her training partners, Adam Goucher and Galen Rupp, on the day to day monotony of elite distance training. The key is in the focus, and the attitude.

Kara's attitude has changed, and so has her racing. First her 10,000 meters in Osaka, then her 8:34.5 3,000 meters, a personal best, then her 14:55 for 5,000 meters, another personal best. Both after the exhausting experience that Osaka must have been!

In her conversations with the media, Kara told us that when she went into the Osaka race, she was hoping to medal, now, in future races, meaning Beijing, she can hope for something more.

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