Kara Goucher is a rock star in the running world. She is beautiful and sweet and tough and strong. She has become the paradigm for the modern running woman and fast becoming it for the modern running mother. I am waiting for her to meet me in the lobby of a hotel in NYC and enjoying the surreal feel of the moment…a journey that began months earlier by a simple gesture. I have sent many of my Remanents running (and otherwise) inspired cards and tees to people I have genuinely admired over the years, and have received some of the most gracious responses. The one I received from Kara Goucher was just that–a heart felt note and sincere interest in my running and business. She makes her own cards to inspire her friends. So I asked her to design one (just for fun) with me for charity and she was in. Wow.
We live on opposite coasts, but with e-mails and mailings laced with reassurances like “less is more” and “keep it simple” flying back and forth, we very easily find common ground. We go with a Keith Haring-ish drawing by Kara and a Remanents pun (Kara is often described as a world-class runner “with a heart of gold”…she’s that, and BOLD). It was an effortless collaboration as she picks a shirt style, envelope color and tells a story to inspire on the back. She’s a designers dream. Kara chooses MADD [Mother's Against Drunk Driving] as her choice of charity. Her father was killed by a drunk driver years ago and this will honor his memory. As a mother of teenagers and a young adult, this one is a cause close to home. (See article on Kara’s family and MADD)
I am really excited to see Kara coming through the front door of the hotel. She greets me with a warm smile. She introduces me to her good friend Paula Radcliffe (yes, I am kind freaking out a little to be among these ladies). They have come from a luncheon and were just discussing the specifics of working out later in the hotel gym. It could have been any one of the running women I know scheduling their next workout. I am struck by their “normalness” and by the fact that they are working out the night before a race. Paula catches the elevator back to her room and Kara and I head off to get the new “Kara-tee for Charity”. She runs upstairs and returns shortly looking SO adorable with her baby belly and with husband Adam in tow. LDFs Jane and Jamie have tagged along to help out and are masters at keeping her engaged in conversation while Andrea takes some shots. Adam is charming and kind.
I get to jump in with Kara for a few of the photos and we head out onto the street in front of the hotel to take a few more. We are amazed that this incredible couple is still hanging with this forty something crowd. They are full of genuine excitement for the arrival of their son, a new house and the next part of life. It was hard to remember that they are world class runners and not just another really nice couple from Oregon trying to give back.
So Kara and I hope you will consider buying one of these cards or one of these tees so we can donate 100% of the proceeds to MADD to honor her father. They are only available online at Remanents.
Thanks Kara and Adam, you are a great couple and great sports and we know you will make incredible parents.
10 Questions for Kara:
1. Running skirt, friend or foe?
I have to admit this to everyone. I modeled one for a Nike catalog in 2007 and I really liked the skirt. I wore it a lot, even in the Olympic village! I got a lot of compliments on it. But I could never wear it for a hard serious workout, I just couldn’t.
2. What is your idea of the perfect run (details please…when, where with whom)
The perfect run would be on a beautiful sunny day in San Moritz. I have been lucky enough to enjoy several days of sunshine on the most amazing trails there. But for a perfect run, my dad would be there. That would be absolutely perfect.
3. What training tools/items/gear can you not live without? Will you use a jogging stroller?
I cannot live without my sports watch. I have never been able to just run and not worry about time. I like to document how far and fast I ran. No matter how fast or slow it was. I’m a bit obsessive about it. I love my sports watch! I doubt I’ll use a jogging stroller. When I run it’s my time, and I’m at “work.” I can’t imagine worrying about pushing my son around during that time.
4. What is your present state of running mind? Goals?
I am in my 7th month of pregnancy so running has taken a very different role for me right now. Instead of running as hard as I can and getting as fit as I can be, I have been able to just enjoy my running for what it is. It is time to reflect, time to see beauty, time to dream. I still have the same goals that I always have. Win a medal in the 2012 Olympics and win a Major Marathon here at home in the United States.
5. I was struck by the bond between you and Paula, what qualities do you value most in a (running) friend?
I value someone who is kind and thoughtful. I admire people who dream big and who hold themselves to high standards. I really appreciate people who are successful but don’t feel threatened by others. Paula is the greatest female distance runner of all time, but she doesn’t hesitate one second to help me out. That is a rare and wonderful quality. And you have to be able to be totally honest with a running friend. I love to talk, talk, and talk! I’ve gotten the closest to people on runs. There is an honesty there, you can share anything with each other.
OK, enough about running…
6. Best card you ever received? Given?
Asking me what is the best card I have ever received is like asking a mother which one is her favorite child. I have always loved cards. I have huge plastic tubs of them in my garage because I always save them. My mother is an amazing stamper and she has made me some of the most beautiful and clever cards, they are truly artwork. One of my closest friends always seems to send me a card at just the right time, when I am stressed or under the weather. Getting a piece of art in the mail is so amazing. To know that someone thought of you, that someone took the time to write it out and address it. That is a wonderful feeling. I am like my mom, but not as talented. I prefer to make a card, but I don’t have the skill she does. I am horrible at remembering birthdays or holidays, but I always send a card when I know one of my friends or family needs a smile. I have even given them to competitors who I see struggling! I just think that a card can lift someone’s spirits. It really can.
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