Dec 27, 2019
Kara Goucher knew her life would change when she decided to report her coach to the FBI. Making a choice to do what you believe is right, no matter the personal consequences, is a worthy and stressful decision. This was in 2011, eight years before Alberto Salazar received a four-year coaching ban.
Leading up to that decision, and the eight years that have followed, Kara has had many life-changing events. The birth of her child, podium finishes, and involvement in the ongoing investigation has kept her extremely busy.
Through all of this Kara lives day by day. Like you and me, she strives for balance and looks for ways to enjoy each day as a runner. Today, Kara told us about her feelings on Nike, how she became an activist as a shy person, and what she loves about running today. You won’t want to miss this one!
There are always consequences when someone decides to speak up. For Kara, she knew that if she reported her coach for doping violations, she may forever be questioned by others as to whether or not she was too was a cheater. These potential accusations can cause emotional and financial damage. In Kara’s case, both were true.
Shortly after Kara become public about her stance, she lost a contract that was about to go through. In addition to that, coaches and others said things about her that made it difficult to know who to trust. The process was dreadful and long, not knowing when or if her words would be heard and if actions would take place.
But it was all worth it, and Kara regrets none of it. Buoyed up by others in the running industry that have had to go through worse, or still have their entire careers in front of them, Kara has found her voice.
She doesn’t see herself as an extrovert, ready to yell to the crowds for change, in fact she considers herself quite shy. However, she said that once things became personal, something that she really believed in, she couldn’t stay quiet.
The examples of others are often what helps us to accomplish great things. Most success stories begin with great mentors or aspirations taken from personal heroes. This really is no different. If you want to be better, follow those people you look up to and glean from their greatness. Following someone like Kara is a great start.
When we follow the example of others, we are doing more than just helping ourselves. On every level, people are inspired. For example, what an Olympic athlete does inspires everyone, though they can sometimes be additionally influential to those hoping to qualify. And to those that are trying to qualify, they may inspire the college athletes, from the college athletes to the high school athletes, and so on.
Your neighbor may not be inspired by Kipchoge, but they are probably inspired by you.
In addition to doping violations, Nike coaches have been accused of body-shaming. Imagine that, the fastest runners in the world aren’t free from fat-shaming. This is another issue that Kara has been taking a stand on, and something that you can share with others as well.
Quite frankly, the scale has become too much of a focus in sports. Performance is what matters most to professional athletes and really, to everyone. How your body feels and what it is capable of doing for you is the best way to determine your physical betterment.
Eating those things that make you happy and strong and bring about great recovery are what is most important, not the numbers. Your body is amazing. It will know when to lose or keep weight. Trust it, and be there for it in the long run—pun intended.
So, what happens for Kara now? Well, for the most part, we wait and see. She is at ease with her decisions, but there is still a long way to go for the running industry. Kara is hopeful that as the running community works together, organizations will also do what they should.
As we come together, changes are likely and powerful. We can vote with our feet, and in this case, with our wallets. Companies are forced to change when customers vote this way. What we say can be effective, but what we DO rings even louder.
Thank you to my wonderful sponsors Generation UCAN, Recoup Fitness, and Body Health for sponsoring this episode of the Running for Real Podcast.
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Thank you to Kara, I look forward to hearing your thoughts on the show.