Mother’s Day touched Kara Goucher for the first time Sunday.
She found out in January she was pregnant with her first child and she and husband, Adam, were told 10 days ago that the baby boy was completely healthy.
Goucher, 32, America’s top woman marathoner and former Olympian who grew up in Duluth, celebrated the upcoming birth with her sisters, Kendall Schoolmeester of Cornelius, Ore., and Kelly Grgas-Wheeler of Duluth in a get-together over the weekend at home in Portland, Ore. The due date is Sept. 29.
“I’m enjoying this stage of my life, something I’ve looked forward to, and I’m finding that every single day of a pregnancy is different,” said Goucher. “I’m continuing to train and stay as fit as I can, and I’m getting a doctor’s approval every step of the way.”
A number of world-class women runners have had children in recent years and returned to competition, including world marathon record holder Paula Radcliffe, Marla Runyan and Shayne Culpepper. Goucher’s top Minnesota high school rival, Olympian Carrie Tollefson of St. Paul, had her first child, a daughter, on April 1.
Goucher hopes to be ready to participate in the 2012 U.S. Olympic Trials in the marathon, on Jan. 14, 2012, in Houston. Adam Goucher, 35, a U.S. track Olympian, also has marathon aspirations. The 2012 Summer Games are in London.
“We are very excited about the baby because we’ve waited a long time. Now that we know he’s healthy, we feel so much better,” said Adam Goucher. “My main concern now is being there for Kara.
“Sometimes she has been pushing her training and I’m there to ask her to relax. A week ago she said she felt like she was coming down with a cold, and then said she needed to run. I said ‘Not today, get comfortable and we’ll watch a couple of movies.’ ”
The Gouchers, former University of Colorado athletes, have been married 8½ and have waited to start a family while Kara competed in the 2008 Summer Olympics at 5,000 and 10,000 meters on the track and then establish herself in the marathon by placing third in the 2008 New York City Marathon and third in the 2009 Boston Marathon.
Kara Goucher plans to train throughout her pregnancy, working with obstetrician-gynecologist Dr. Robin Barrett of Portland (who is also a runner) and Oregon Track Club Elite-Portland coach Albert Salazar. She ran 70 miles last week, some on an anti-gravity treadmill which allows running at a lighter weight.
“I like to push boundaries and be on a schedule and be disciplined,” said Goucher. “I don’t know how realistic it is, but I’d like to continue to run two or three days a week. I’m already doing half of what I normally would do in training, so I have cut back. And if I have to run at an 8-minute (per mile) pace, then I have to tell myself that a slower pace is OK and that I’m not out of shape, or lazy or not trying.’’
Advice has also been provided by Radcliffe, 36, who came to Portland in January and trained for three months with Goucher, under Salazar’s watch. Radcliffe, born in England and living in Monaco, has a 3-year-old daughter and is expecting a second child, scheduled for Goucher’s exact due date.
Goucher and Radcliffe, only acquaintances before, have become good friends.
“It helped to have someone going through (the pregnancy) at the same time, even though we didn’t have the exact same feelings on the exact same day,” Radcliffe told the New York Times. “If you haven’t gone through pregnancy, you don’t know what that type of tiredness feels like, what being wiped out feels like. I didn’t sit down and lecture (Kara); I passed along bits (of advice) to her.”
Goucher will make some public appearances in the next seven weeks before taking the final three months of pregnancy for herself and Adam. She’ll speak at the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathons in San Diego (June 6) and Seattle (June 26), and be a guest speaker June 18 in Duluth, one day before the 34th Grandma’s Marathon. And she plans to run leisurely in the New York Mini 10-Kilometer race June 12 in Central Park.