by Kara Goucher | May 18, 2011 |
Yesterday I was officially named to the U.S. Marathon Team that will compete at the IAAF World Championships in Athletics in South Korea in late August and early September. I am proud and excited to have this next opportunity to represent my country at the highest level of international competition.
I know this news came as a surprise to some people, because I hadn’t said anything publically about running another marathon before the Olympic Trials next January. In fact, I still might not. It all depends on what happens in Eugene next month. I will compete in the 10,000m at the USA Outdoor Track & Field Championships. If I’m able to qualify for the World Championships in that event, I’ll run it, and skip the marathon, passing my marathon slot to current alternate Zoila Gomez. If I don’t qualify, I’ll go ahead and run the marathon.
Making the worlds team in the 10K won’t be easy. To do it, I’ll have to finish top three in a field that will include (assuming everyone is healthy) my training partner Amy Yoder Begley, Molly Huddle, Lisa Koll, Jen Rhines, and Shalane Flanagan. If I’m at my best, I think I can do it (after all, I do have a World Championships medal in this event!), but I will have to be at my best.
The marathon will pose an interesting challenge if I run it. Late August in Korea is hot, so I will have to prepare specifically for those conditions. Also, I’ll be running three marathons in just ten months in that scenario, so I’ll need to be extra careful about doing all the little things needed to prevent injuries and avoid burnout when logging heavy mileage for months on end.
The challenge has already begun, because in my current training I need to build speed to run a great 10K next month and at the same time retain my strength and endurance in case I run the marathon after all. So I’m keeping my mileage up around 100 miles per week while also flogging myself at the track. I put on my spikes for a workout for the first time in two years last week, and I had a blast.
I love racing on the track, and I’m really looking forward to taking my best shot at qualifying for worlds in the 10K next month—and bringing home another medal in that event in August. But I feel very fortunate to know I won’t have to miss out on the World Championships completely even if I do come up short in the 10K. If I run the marathon in Korea, I will fully embrace the challenge and race to win.