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Injured Goucher to run at Worlds

Wearing a USA jersey means much to Kara Goucher. Despite a hip injury, she'll stand on the starting line at 9 p.m. Saturday in Daegu, South Korea, for the women's 10,000-meter race at the World Track and Field Championships.

Kara Goucher
Kara Goucher was third at 10,000 meters in the 2007 World Championships in Osaka, Japan, her highest-profile international career performance. (2008 file / Associated Press)

Wearing a USA jersey means much to Kara Goucher. Despite a hip injury, she'll stand on the starting line at 9 p.m. Saturday in Daegu, South Korea, for the women's 10,000-meter race at the World Track and Field Championships.

She could've withdrawn from the event, but received an OK from doctors last week and flew Thursday from home in Portland, Ore.

Goucher, 33, who hopes to compete in the marathon in the 2012 Summer Games in London, was third at 10,000 meters in the 2007 World Championships in Osaka, Japan, her highest-profile international career performance.

"The ultimate for me is to put on a USA uniform. I love competing at this level and there are only so many times you get a chance to represent your country. This is the ultimate for me," said Goucher, who grew up in Duluth.

The injury was diagnosed about a month ago as a stress reaction of the femur. She had been bothered by a sore hip since giving birth last September to her first child, son Colt, but was averaging 105-120 miles a week in training. Since a week after Colt's birth, Goucher hadn't taken a day off from running.

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After the injury, she took 12 days off and resumed training with the help of an underwater treadmill. She also withdrew from a planned 5,000-meter track race Aug. 6 in London.

"My workouts had been going so well, that I ignored the pain. I kept saying. 'I'll get through it, I'll get through it.' My judgment was clouded," said Goucher, coached by Alberto Salazar with the Nike Oregon Project. "I found out that I'm not indestructible. I can't just push through pain."

While an MRI showed swelling, there was no fracture. A follow up last week indicated the injury wasn't healed, but it wasn't worse. So Goucher went on her own to Korea and her husband, Adam, a former Olympic runner, will arrive this week.

Goucher had finished fifth in the 2011 Boston Marathon in April, in a personal-best 2 hours, 24 minutes, 52 seconds, and accepted a spot on the U.S. team in the marathon for the World Championships. But when she also qualified at 10,000 meters, placing second in the U.S. Championships in 31:16.65 in June in Eugene, Ore., she chose that event.

The U.S. Olympic Trials marathon race is Jan. 14 in Houston.

"I'm a different athlete than I was two years ago. I'm much more of a strength-oriented runner," said Goucher.

There are 22 entrants in the women's 10,000-meter race, including Americans Shalane Flanagan and Jennifer Rhines. Entrants with the top personal bests are Ethiopians Meselech Melkamu (29:53.80) and Meseret Defar (29:59.20). Reigning world champion Linet Chepkwemoi of Kenya, who has run 30:26.50, is in the field. Goucher's best is 30:55.16. The race is 7 a.m. Duluth time Saturday.

Goucher wrote recently on her blog for Competitor.com:

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"Maybe my hopes of pushing the pace and running aggressively at World Champs have been derailed a bit. But I honestly believe I haven't lost any fitness, and my body might even function better than it has all year. I am forging on with hope and optimism."

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