A New Starting Line

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“I am not somebody who just likes to run. I am a runner. This is the difference between a pastime and a passion. I like to play golf, but I am not a golfer. I like to cook, but I am not a chef. I don’t just like to run. I am a runner. It is a passion. It is part of who I am and is woven into the fabric of my personality, character, and psyche.” – Adam Goucher from “Running the Edge”

Starting Lines

I have always craved starting lines. Starting lines have a magnetic pull for me. Even more than the finish, I crave the start.  I yearn to toe that line and measure myself not only against my competitors and the clock, but also against my previous limits.  Starting lines represent hope. They represent a dream, and all the preparation it took to get there. I have stood on starting lines at state championships, NCAA championships, USATF championships, World Championships, and at the Olympic games. Each starting line has had that pull for me.  Each has represented a dream and a journey.

I believe starting lines give you a purpose. When you stand at the line before the start of a race you know exactly what you want to do. You have a direction and a goal. During the race you are fulfilling that purpose with each stride and each breath. You are constantly striving to do exactly what you set out to do before the race began.

Beginning in high school I wanted to stand on the biggest starting lines possible. I wanted to feel the adrenaline – the anticipation of the unknown. I never knew exactly what was going to happen but I was fully committed to giving it everything I had. Once the race started, there was a different pull. The finish line. I used to think the finish is what drove me to work hard and dream big, but each time I crossed a finish line I immediately began looking forward to the next start. I would reflect on what I could have done differently to better my time or finish. Should I have matched that early move or let it go?  Should I have squeezed in one more long run or backed off on my last interval session?  Where is the next line?  When can I begin again?

 The Last Race

Recently I had been running nearly injury free. I was as healthy as I had been in years so I decided to chase yet another starting line. I entered the Philadelphia half marathon with a dream of earning a spot on the starting line at my fifth Olympic Trials. If I was worthy, healthy, and prepared, I believed I had a chance to make the Olympic team. Maybe not a good chance, but a chance, and that was enough. Although I was relatively healthy going into the race in Philly, I was bothered by a sore knee and a ankle that had a Talar Dome impingement, but neither were stopping me from training and I felt optimistic about my chances.

Doubt started to enter my mind a few days before the race.  Even though my knee had been bothering me the past few months I was able to train at a sufficient level. My knee was very sore leading up to the race but I chalked it up to travel and stress. I stayed positive and figured I would get some treatment after the race and everything would be fine.

During the race I felt the knee the entire time. As soon as I finished it flared and I was very sore just walking around. I told myself to be smart and take a few days off to let it recover.  The problem is that it did not recover.  A month after the half marathon I was not training at the level I needed to.  Both my foot and knee were limiting me so I decided to take action.

The type of pain in my knee indicated inflammation in one of the bursa sacs. Doctors told me a cortisone shot might calm it down enough for me to get back to training.  Since the injection in my knee was already going to knock me out for a couple days, I decided to take care of the foot as well. Two cortisone shots later I was hopeful I would be back to training at full capacity. I was heartbroken when neither the foot nor the knee improved. Reluctantly, I consented to an MRI to confirm my worst fears. I had resisted the MRI because I didn’t want to know. I didn’t want the dream of that starting line to be ripped away. The MRI showed a torn meniscus (the same meniscus I had repaired a year earlier) and substantial damage to the cartilage in the joint. I needed surgery. Again.

Almost in a daze I listened to the doctor explain how the damage in my knee was causing the joint to be “unstable” which caused the muscles in my quads and surrounding areas to compensate when I ran or even walked. He uttered phrases about “micro-fracture surgery” and “shaving down the bone” but all I could hear and all I could think about was how my Olympic Trials starting line was fading away.

This coming Friday (November 11, 2011) I will go under the knife again to fix what is broken.  Within a week I should be able to start some gentle cross training, and within four weeks I will be able to begin some easy running.  There is not enough time. There will be no Olympic Trials marathon in January.  That is one starting line I will not make.

Moving on:

I have two choices. Option 1: I can feel sorry for myself, curse my less than durable body, and regret trying for that starting line in the first place, or Option 2: I can accept the circumstances, be thankful I took a shot, and focus on what is next. I choose option 2. I choose to look back at my comeback attempt as a worthwhile experience. I do not have to live with “What if” in the back of my mind. Although I am saddened by the outcome, I have no regrets for trying.

I am retiring from elite racing but I am not done running. Not by a long shot! I am looking forward to new starting lines and joining the millions of runners who find inspiring reasons to run that do not include Olympic berths or even personal bests. Those days might be behind me but I feel like my running career is just beginning. I am a runner. That will never change.

In chapter 10 of our book “Running the Edge” Tim tells a story titled “Be Great at Something Else.” It is a story I recently re-read to hear coach Wetmore’s advice as he tells Tim that running has realistically taken him as far as it ever will. Wetmore urges him to take the discipline and lessons learned from running and apply the same tenacity, determination, and spirit to be great at something else. This is what I intend to do.

Starting lines and finish lines are edges. They are edges that drive us to action, and frame our journey. To Run the Edge is to never stop dreaming of what is possible or striving to find the limits of our potential. Chasing those edges keeps us moving in the right direction, not just in running but in everything we do. I have new edges to run and new starting lines to toe.  The anticipation, mystery, and excitement of what will happen next motivate me to give these journeys everything I have.

I am thankful for everything elite running has given me. It has allowed me to travel the world, to make a living doing something I love, and to make wonderful, positive, and encouraging friends.

I am thankful for the Run the Edge community that continues to build and grow as a positive force in my life. I have not always been positive. I have had my moments of weakness where I’ve said and done things that I regret. But I am in progress and at a new starting line. I want to contribute in only positive ways to the running community. I want to give back, help, support, foster, and encourage other runners. I want to share my passion, love for running, and the lessons I have learned. From high school runners to forty year veterans, if I can contribute to their journey, I will.  If I can help provide motivation, education, inspiration, or even just entertainment, then I am fulfilling the purpose of this new starting line.

A finish line without another staring line is empty. The applause will die, the personal satisfaction will fade.  There needs to be something else- another purpose. I realize now that the finish line was never what truly drove me. It was the start.  In my mid thirties I finally understand the truth in the cliché “Its not the destination but the journey.”

My marriage was a starting line. The birth of my son was a starting line. I am in the middle of those journeys and they bring me purpose while demanding my very best. I need to be fully committed to those journeys and giving them everything I have. Writing “Running the Edge” with Tim has provided many more starting lines just as exciting and full of opportunities to test my limits and desire.

So as I retire from elite running, I don’t look at it as if I have stood on my last starting line. This is a new beginning for me. It is a new direction full of many different purposes, hopes, and dreams. I want to be better. I want to test my previous limits. I am excited to have a chance to compete and see just how far I can go.

Training Plans by Kara Goucher and Run the Edge

Click here for more information

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124 Responses to “A New Starting Line”

  1. kayla wills

    thanks for being such an inspiration to my son and hundreds of others out there! I hope you and Zach remain friends for a long time.

    • Holley

      Congratulations on a remarkable journey! Your story is very inspiring and your positive attitude is contagious! I’ve always believed that everything happens for a reason and rather than feel sorry for yourself you’re willing to look forward to your next adventure.

      Good luck with your surgery and I wish you the best!

      • Adam Goucher

        Thank you so much Holley! It is not easy to be positive all the time but looking forward to the next adventure gives hope and creates excitement. Thank you for the encouragement and best of luck to you!

    • Rebecca Trahan

      Spoken like a true champion–knowing when to say when yet not giving up altogether. Have you tried cycling or speed skating?

      • Adam Goucher

        Thanks Rebecca. I have tried cycling a bit (funny story about that in the book Running the Edge) but not much and never speed skating. There are lots of ways to stay fit and I am looking forward to trying some new ones!

    • Adam Goucher

      Thanks Kayla! Zach is a great kid with a VERY bright future! I can’t wait to see what he does!

  2. Cindi

    This is a great post. You have taken a very sad, emotional issue for you and put such a positive, purposeful spin on it. I am glad you are choosing Option 2. There ARE great things in store for you with your wife, son, writing and running. You are an inspiration to people (like me) that haven’t even really met you in real life. Good luck with the surgery and with the next chapter in your life. Keep running the edge of all that you do.

    • Adam Goucher

      Thanks BFF! Maybe we will meet in person one day! Thank you for all the support and encouragement! Keep blogging!

  3. Adam Goucher Officially Retires From Running | Competitor.com

    [...] at the Rock ‘n’ Roll Philadelphia Half Marathon in September with a 64:52 clocking, announced via his Run The Edge blog on Wednesday that he is having knee surgery this Friday and is officially retiring from competitive [...]

  4. rt

    Adam – very sorry to hear about your knee – it feels like such a useless betrayal when our bodies fail us in these little (in the grand scheme) ways. But you do have decades of good running ahead of you – I hope you enjoy the sport for what it is. And you are an Olympian, man! A flippin Olympian!

    • Adam Goucher

      Haha. Thanks rt! I think the harder thing to believe is that I am a Dad! A flippin’ Dad!!

      • Andy

        What ever you have achieved in your life, that is the highlight – becoming a Dad and husband is the greatest feeling on earth – I know you son is only young but you have so many good times ahead of you – seeing the world through a new pair of eyes!! good luck with that challenge!!

  5. John Lofranco

    Good luck Adam. You are making the smart choice. You will be awesome at whatever comes next.

  6. Sierra Stevens


    I would like to say thank you for all the inspiration you have brought me in the last few years! I am amazed by everything you have accomplished and I am inspired by it every day.

    I am saddened to hear that you have to go into surgery but I am glad that you are doing it. I will keep you in my prayers as you recover and hope for the best!

    This was inspirational beyond words! Thank you for being part of the inspiration that has kept me running!

    Sierra Nicole Stevens

    • Adam Goucher

      Thanks Sierra! You are always encouraging and positive! That means a lot to us at Run the Edge! Keep up the good work and finish your senior year hard!

      • Sierra Stevens

        It’s something I have to work on but I’m doing the best that I can!

        Please let me know how everything goes!

  7. Ron O

    while my competitive running life ended when I graduated high school…its a humbling feeling to have to end doing something you love. Good luck to you. I hope there are just as many finish lines in your future as their are start lines.

    • Adam Goucher

      Thanks Ron – The end of high level competition happens to all of us and it is never easy even if it come after high school. Good luck in all you do Ron!

  8. Rick Phelps

    Very brave of you to look the situation over and find a positive outcome. The running community will indeed benefit from your continuation to be involved. I have to say that I am sad that we won’t see you run that Olympic trials marathon, but am glad you have worked things out for yourself. Good luck to you in this new path you have chosen!

  9. Keith

    That’s too bad Adam. But you will be great at whatever comes next.

  10. Joe Volk

    The best of luck to you in your new phase of life. I have been running since 1975 and coaching for the past 30 years, and I can honestly tell you that reading your book has had a tremendous on me as a runner, coach, husband, and father. I have urged each of my XC team members to read your book as I think it is one of those transformative reads that we only rarely encounter.

    • Adam Goucher

      Thanks Joe! It feels great to hear feedback like this about the book! It was such a great experience writing it and knowing that people enjoy it makes it all worthwhile! Good luck to you and your XC team!

  11. Dean Ouellette

    Been a fan of yours since your college days. Not that you need it, but good luck in whatever is next

  12. Kim

    All the best to you in your recovery and your next starting line. Your positive outlook is a true inspiration. Your next journey will be amazing and a wonderful influence to others!

  13. Oh Crappy Day! | Runnin' From The Law

    [...] did you all see that my BFF Adam is injured and officially retired from elite running today?  Love his positive attitude.  (And makes me think my day really wasn’t so crappy after [...]

  14. David Flax


    I met you in Philly this year and your story inspired me to continue running for fun and fitness. I am saddened to hear that you will be unable to continue your running career at the marathon trials. I am glad your last run as an elite runner got your into the trials. I am glad to hear you will not give up on your running but will be joining the masses in running for fun, fitness and lifestyle. Good luck with the surgery and hopefully you’ll be back running in no time.

    • Adam Goucher

      Thanks David! It was nice to meet you and I look forward to seeing you at other races in the future! Good luck with your running!

  15. Scott Winrow

    Sorry to hear about this latest setback and the fact you will not be able to run the OT Marathon Trials. I have been a fan for years and watched you deal with triumph and numerous setbacks. I am halfway through the book and can see how you will not let this latest setback stop you from “running on the edge”. Best of luck in your future endeavors and keep on fighting the good fight!

  16. Alan Castilleja

    When i read Running with the Buffaloes, i realized how much of an amazing you were and it empowered me to take running seriously. You are and still one of the great runners. Thank you for helping me pursue my dream.

    • Adam Goucher

      Thank YOU Alan! I am glad you liked Running with the Buffaloes. Check out Running the Edge next to see a different way to look at running. You will enjoy it just as much! All the best!

  17. missy

    adam, you are one of the gutsiest, hardest working athletes out there and an inspiration to so many of us. i know you will continue to inspire us in your post-elite racing career. good luck and happy recovering!!

  18. George

    Adam – I have enjoyed watching you and your journey for a long time.

    I look forward to you getting through this, recovering, and then lining up at the Pikes Peak starting line next year. ;)


    • Adam Goucher

      Pike Peak? Next Year? Haha! You guys are crazy! What a race that is. Good luck to you and maybe I will see you one day as we run on flatter ground! :)

  19. Coach Tief

    I hope you find life outside of elite running refreshing. I remember my last collegiate race, and that was hard thing to swallow. My last big race. I didn’t run a road race for 10 years after that. I’m glad I got back into it and just set reasonable goals now. I found a different world of running that wasn’t nearly as competitive, but it allowed me to relax and just have fun with each run. I hope you can find that again once you have recovered from your surgery. Also, thanks for the opportunity to let me interview you recently.

    • Adam Goucher

      Thanks David! It was a pleasure to do the interview with Tips 4 Running. Thanks for the encouragement and best of luck to you!

  20. david

    Good luck with your surgery. Like others, I’m impressed with your positive attitude. I have thoroughly enjoyed following your endeavors that I couldn’t even dream of attaining. I look forward to seeing what the future brings for you & your whole family. Hope the recovery is fast AND easy!

  21. November 10: Shalane Flanagan Is Racing in San Antonio … Paula Radcliffe Keeps Her World Record … Adam Goucher Retires … Will Dado and Deba Be Ethiopian Olympians? … Lots of Loot for Doug Logan … Nick Willis Learns from '

    [...] Still, writes Goucher, "I choose to look back at my comeback attempt as a worthwhile experience. I do not have to live with “What if” in the back of my mind. Although I am saddened by the outcome, I have no regrets for trying." He's "not done running," but acknowledges "I am retiring from elite racing." At "More," you can read many more reflections by Goucher, who recently co-authored "Running The Edge" with Tim Catalano. More [...]

  22. Andrea . Charcoal and Crayons

    Your courage to step up to a new type of starting line – whatever that may be – is incredible. As a beginning runner, I often think of inspiring individuals such as yourself and Kara when I need that extra motivation while running. You will definitely be in my thoughts this Friday… Best of luck on your surgery.

  23. Daniel Kirsner

    Adam–the best current first-line treatment for articular cartilage defects is DeNovo by Zimmer. I assume you already know this, but if not, look into it. Whatever you do, not not have the damaged area microfractured as this will make better options like DeNovo less likely to succeed.

  24. Mike Lundgren

    Adam, please don’t rush that recovery on the knee, and if crutches are urged for the first week, good idea, too. The body doesn’t always heal at the same rate all the time, and the 2nd time surgery especially.

    I think it’s very wise of you to retire, too, and not think there are one last Trials for you. Your heart and your accomplishments and your drive will take you to wonderful, new places, and your love of wife and son are so great to see.

    My wife and I watched you win NCAA’s in Lawrence and run in the World Champs 5000, I can still see you driving out of the woods at around 8 km on the uphill in Lawrence (and seeing everyone else sucking wind while you were powering up) and driving around the curve at WC (trying to remember, was that in Paris?). Anyhow, best wishes on a full recovery and return to running.

    • Adam Goucher

      Thank you Mike! I am not good with crutches but I guess I will need them for a week or so. I will try to be good and take it easy. Thank you for the encouragement and kind words!

  25. James Thie

    Nice read Adam- and hard luck with the injury- but I’m sure you glad you gave London 2012 a shot- as nothing worse than regret. Looking forward to getting a copy of your book. Good luck for the future cheers James

    • Adam Goucher

      Thanks James! Regret is one thing I do not have. I know some people thought I was crazy for trying but I had to give it a shot and I am glad I did. Thanks for the support and enjoy the book! You will love it!

  26. Adam Goucher Retires

    [...] Unable to compete in January’s Olympic Marathon Trials due to a knee injury, Adam Goucher has announced his retirement from the sport. [...]

  27. Your Morning Headlines | The Track & Field Superfan Blog

    [...] Adam Goucher’s last stand is over. The 2000 Olympian had planned on running the marathon trials, but an injury has scuttled that and he announced his retirement yesterday. [...]

  28. Scott Jones

    You’ll look back on this moment as the time when running became fun again. Relax, heal, take time for yourself and your family, then hit the trails and get back to the fun cross country running that has always been your core. This style of running is much more friendly to the type of injuries that have plagued your career, and there’s a community of trail and mountain runners who would embrace having the toughest runner since Pre joining their ranks. Good luck Adam.

    • Adam Goucher

      Thanks Scott! I love trail running and look forward to hitting some trails and enjoying the mountain air! Good luck to you and your running and I hope to see you on the trails!

  29. Lynn

    Congratulations on a wonderful career and having the maturity to realize that there are other starting lines out there. The part about having two starting lines reminded me of this Ted talk I watched a few weeks ago. I highly recommend it and think some of the parts towards the middle will really speak to you:

    • Adam Goucher

      Thanks Lynn – I book marked the Ted Talk and will watch it when I am recovering on the couch! I love those things! I can get lost in them for hours! Thanks for the recommendation!

  30. Jessica


    Reading your blog I got very emotional. Probably because it hits so close to home for me. I recently let go of some running dreams. My goal was Olympic Trials 1500m. I was on track for awhile, but training started taking away from family. It started to take a heavy and mental toll. Mostly because I train completely alone and my coach moved to North Carolina and I live in Wisconsin. It became a chore instead of the thing I looked forward to the most.

    Your blog really says what I am feeling. I hope your surgery and recovery goes well. You and your wife are such an inspiration. I can’t wait to watch her run at the Olympic trials. By the way your son is adorable. My daughter was born a month before him. Your outlook on everything changes when you bring a miracle into the world. Children are God’s blessing. God luck and God Bless!

    • Adam Goucher

      Thanks Jessica – Yes life does change when you become a parent! It puts your priorities in order and it sounds like you have yours correct. I am sorry to hear that you let go of the Olympic Trials dream but as worthy as that dream is, it is not worth your family or mental health. You sound like a great mom and your daughter is a lucky girl! Best of luck!

  31. November 10: Shalane Flanagan Is Racing in San Antonio … Paula Radcliffe Keeps Her World Record … Adam Goucher Retires … Will Dado and Deba Be Ethiopian Olympians? … Lots of Loot for Doug Logan … Nick Willis Learns from '

    [...] Still, writes Goucher, "I choose to look back at my comeback attempt as a worthwhile experience. I do not have to live with “What if” in the back of my mind. Although I am saddened by the outcome, I have no regrets for trying." He's "not done running," but acknowledges "I am retiring from elite racing." At "More," you can read many more reflections by Goucher, who recently co-authored "Running The Edge" with Tim Catalano. More [...]

  32. Adam B

    Inspirational post, Adam. I’m also a longtime runner coming to accept and adapt to major injuries. I agree with you — I do not know if it is chicken or egg, but a tough runner can be tough and successful at many worthy things.

    • Adam Goucher

      Adam – You are exactly right! A tough runner brings a lot of grit to other areas of life. This is one of the concepts in our book and one I try to live each day. Good luck to you and your future running!

  33. Bridget

    Thank you so much for being an inspiration and runner I have looked up to for so many years. You have made an tremendous impact on my life.
    Good luck in your “retirement” and looking forward to other areas of your life. I am sure you will continue to be an inspiration to thousands of more people in any way you choose.

  34. Bill

    Adam – as a runner with 3 stress fractures in 14 months, I def understand where you are with dealing with injury. But it took a bigger person to step back and look at all you have and realize what you want from life. Your drive as a runner will show in whatever you do after this – its only the start of a new beginning for you! Enjoy the uncertainty – but embrace the future and what it brings!

    • Adam Goucher

      Thank you Bill! You are so right that when we step back from our problems and take a minute to be thankful for everything we have, it puts things in perspective. Sorry to hear about your stress fractures. I wish you a speedy (And lasting) recovery!

  35. Andy

    You probably know this, but Paula Radcliffe’s running went into the stratosphere when her husband Gary retired and took on all the back room support areas, training with her and generally helping her career, with you in the backroom I am sure that Kara can move on and up and will be an asset to the London Olympics – running fans over here in the UK are looking forward to seeing a fit Kara hit that starting line – good luck to you!!!

    • Adam Goucher

      Thanks Andy! I intend to do everything I can to help Kara. She is doing well and hopefully will be fit and ready in London!

  36. Ann

    Adam, on the one hand, I am so sorry to read about the problems you’ve been having with your knee. I know how painful and annoying it can be. But, on the other hand, being a runner is just one thing you “are”. You seem to be many things…you are a writer, a communicator, a coach of sorts,a husband, a dad, a son. You are probably a fixer of stuff in your house, too. LOL! There are so many things you can do moving forward to make a difference in the lives of others! The possibilities are endless!!
    I wish you a very speedy recovery and I’ll be watching for the great things you will do in the future!

    • Glioblastomarunner

      Best of luck and sorry to hear about the injury…Keep coaching..I felt even more satisfaction in doing that, than the running itself…

      • Adam Goucher

        Coaching is a wonderful way to stay involved in competitive running. I am not sure I could handle the stress of pulling for so many athletes. Every runner is thankful for their coaches so keep up the good work and know you are appreciated!

    • Adam Goucher

      Thank you Ann! Your words are inspiring and feel good to read! I love fixing things in my house although I am not sure Kara believes they are any better after I “fix” them! :) It is amazing how positive and kind words can make such a big difference in a person’s life. You just made a difference in mine! All the best to you!

  37. Amanda

    Thank you for sharing your honest and positive perspective. You truly will never ask yourself “what if?” You have many starting lines ahead of you both figuratively and literally – and you have more opportunities to continue your success! Your writing has inspired and encouraged many. I had a setback this week and for the past two days I have wanted to stomp my feet and pout. I read this at the perfect time and it has encouraged me to snap out of it and take action in a positive direction. Thank you for sharing! We cannot always choose what happens to us, but we can choose how we react!

    • Adam Goucher

      Yes Amanda! You get it! Sorry to hear about your setback but I am sure with your attitude you will get through it. Best of luck to you!

  38. gary

    Good for you. There are many places to run and hundreds of great events to take part in. You will win more by just running than you will ever get by by placing first. Instead of fast times come run to the top of our Cadillac Mountain (Maine) with me. This is the 1st place in the entire USA to see the morning sun each day. Then as is my goal someday I want to get on a plane and race the sun west, run up a mountain and be among the last to see the sun set over the Pacific. Records come and go but experiences like this are forever. Keep starting, never finish.

    • Adam Goucher

      Wow Gary!! That sounds like an AMAZING idea! I would love to do that with you! You are right that there is a lot more to running that crossing a finish line in first……..but that is pretty fun too! :)

  39. Jan Sears

    Hey Adam,

    A friend once told me, ” It’s all process……Enjoy the process!” I think you have already been doing that and will continue too in the futrue. I was running and listening to your interview with Bob Babbit and have really taken what you have gone through and the similarities in our lives. To hear how elite athletes and runners like me have gone through similar things is a paradeim shift for me. The human condition is awsome if you embrace the “bad” and the “good”. Thank you and Tim for doing that in your book. I am excited for you that your journey in to the next part of your life is just begining. Enjoy the Process!!

    • Adam Goucher

      Jan – Sounds like you have a very smart friend! It has been one of the greatest realizations for me that we runners are all the same when you get down to it. I am glad that comes across in the book because it give me great comfort and hope to still be a part of something special in running for years to come! Thank you for the kind words Jan!

  40. Rob

    A beautifully written, heart-felt piece, Adam. My son and I have followed you ever since your NCAA XC Championship victory. Thank you for the years of inspiration, heart, and courage you have given us. Now, you have a whole new life to look forward to with a beautiful family to treasure and be treasured. We look forward to learning more about the good things the future brings to you and yours.

    With much affection from afar,

  41. Deanna

    I found a link to your post on Kara’s FB page. I am glad I clicked on it. Your post moved me today. I have been a long distance runner for 25 years, through high school, college and now hobby marathoner. I can somewhat identify with you on some minor levels, but I just wanted you to know that you are inspiring. Even as you step down from elite running ring, you are inspiring. We are all going to hit some sort of tough crossroad in our life and I will always look to you and your example. Thanks for this. And best of luck to you at your new starting line. I am cheering you on.

    • Adam Goucher

      Thank you Deanna! You are right that we all have tough crossroads in running and in our lives. How we handle them is up to us. I think running helps us learn this lesson well. Best of luck to you!

  42. Scott

    Thanks for opening your heart to share the close of the high performance aspect of your athletic career. Please consider the most important starting line in life leads to eternity: “…[L]et us lay asisde every weight, and the sin which so easily besets us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus the Author and Finisher of our faith; Who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.” HEBREWS 12:1, 2

  43. Lize

    On the track/roads or off, you are an inspiration. Thank you for sharing your thoughts here. I’m sure they have resonated with many. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate this post in particular. Best wishes in all that you do.

  44. charles_yo

    Adam, had just put up a blog post when i saw this link. thanks for the post and the explanation of your retirement. your 200 trials victory was one of the best track races i’d ever seen. still in. all the best going forward! I’ve amended my post to link back here to your blog already.


    • Adam Goucher

      Thanks Charles. I checked out your blog and you are right that the Eurosport guys do a great job! Thanks for the kind words! Best of luck in your running!

  45. Jim Freddie

    Adam – You always struck me a runner’s “runner”. I will be anxious to see how long your surgery keeps you down. Really dig your pos. attitude!

    • Adam Goucher

      Thanks Jim. We are all runner’s runners. We have different goals and talents but deep down we have common reasons we love this sport. Some love it more than others but it gives us back everything we give it. Best of luck to you Jim!

  46. marty

    Adam, if you read this, remember you’re a total badass. Congrats on the amazing career. Followed your highlights for years and you’ve always been an inspiration. You’ve again proven to be an inspiration and a hero with your optimism about still running and enjoying training for it’s own sake, if not just for your career.
    Hope to see you in some road races in pdx some day! Maybe you can even treat yourself to one of the beer tickets after! M

    • Adam Goucher

      Haha Marty! Beer after a run…….For some reason I always crave water instead :) Thank you for the encouraging words and I do look forward to enjoying running when I recover from this. Maybe we will see each other at a road race in PDX. If so be sure to say hello!

  47. Gail

    Adam, I think you’re an inspiration still. I read “Run the Edge” and I am proud to say I have an autographed copy! You were an absolutely great runner, and you can still kick most people’s butts. The future will have many great things in store for you.

  48. Lindsey Hammer

    I needed to read this… I just had 2 lower back surgeries and as a runner have been devastated trying to imagine getting back to where I was, and hearing doctors who aren’t runners say things like “running is bad for you”… I just about cry when I hear discouragement like that. A runner is a runner, and it is a mindset. Strong and weak bodies run. Some even push with their arms to cross the finish and run on fake legs, so I realize I could have it worse… When I was injured in a mtb bike fall, I was two months away from running my first marathon—then, a disc exploded in my back. Thank you, so much for sharing your story…It has given me courage, hope and strength.

    • Adam Goucher

      Lindsey – Your story give ME hope and strength! Set backs and injuries are something we all face from time to time. It is part of the experience and part of what unites us in this journey. Sorry to her about your back surgeries. You will recover and finish that marathon one day. Keep believing and think of it as a starting line just to get there. Keep making progress and keep a positive mind set and I have no doubt you will cry tears of joy when you cross that line! Then you will have to look for the next start. Enjoy the journey!

  49. Isaac Medrano


    Thank you for sharing your story and throwing down the example of the different starting lines that we will all toe off the track, trail, road, etc. I am 10 months into my return to running as I allowed other professional pursuits to replace running. Two half marathons, 3 10K’s, a 5K, and my first marathon in the books with another forthcoming to close out my year back at the California International Marathon I am choosing to the run the edge and identify ways I can share and others with the “gift” of running. Thank you and I can’t wait to see and share in your future starting lines.

    • Adam Goucher

      Thanks Isaac! Great to hear you are back at it and doing well. Maybe one day we will share a starting line! Good luck in California!

  50. Annie

    Wow, this is a very emotional message. I wish you the best in this new starting line. What you have done is amazing and shows how much determination you have. I am sure that what comes next will be even more fun. You will run for the pure joy of it and feel no pressure. Just enjoy and RUN with us, the every day runners, who have been inspired by your talent!

    • Adam Goucher

      Thanks Annie! Everyday runners rock! That is the beauty of running. We can do it our whole lives and enjoy what it gives us back at each stage. I am happy to still be able to run and be part of the cool crowd with you! :)

  51. Lazy chick

    Adam, very very inspiring, well written. Linked here via Kara’s fb page as well. You are able to take a positive spin things, I’m truly impressed. Good luck to you in your journey!

    • Adam Goucher

      Thanks Lazy Chic! Sometimes it is hard to stay positive but it is better than the alternative. Best of luck to you as well!

  52. John

    Adam, you are one the most talented and toughest runners, period. Can’t wait to read your book.

  53. Ryan

    I’ve always loved following your races … because you’re there to race. Always a competitor; can’t see that fading away.

    On that note – have you, or would you, consider a move to triathlon? As a runner that finally got tired of getting broken just as I was approaching good fitness, I’ve found that it provides many of the same challenges, and similar fulfillment, as running but also rekindled the passion that comes with being a beginner. In particular, I could see you doing phenomenally at the 1/2 Ironman distance. Looking at this year you can see the precedent of good runners taking to the sport at a very high level: Jesse Thomas, ex-steepler from Stanford, winning on a very challenging Wildflower course; Melissa Rollison, ex-steepler from Australia, taking the 70.3 world Championships (and many other races). I’d love to see what kind of 1/2 marathon a guy with your speed could throw down at the end of one of these races. Depending on course, the best guys can go as fast as 1:07 / 1:08.

  54. Kelly Rogers

    Adam, you are so inspiring! It truly was a pleasure to meet you & Kara in person at the SF Nike Women’s Marathon. You are an incredible athlete, and wonderful writer. I felt so much inspired after reading this! Thank you for putting life in perspective and showing what is really important – taking care of you & your family!

    Love, Kelly

  55. Peter14

    Good luck to you and your family, Adam. I will always be a big fan of you, Tim and this entire running community. As an aging post-collegiate runner (i am now almost 32 with a family life, job, etc.), I realize that several of my previous PR’s are probably behind me. It has been a tough transition for me but I feel that these days I am truly running/training for the love of the sport. And, you and I are lucky enough to have other pursuits in life – family, etc. (which I feel make running even more enjoyable). On an age note, your history of high level running well into the 30′s has been a big inspiration for me (and, I am sure for thousands of others). My favorite quote is “It is not the end of the journey that matters, but the journey, in the end.” I believe it is an old chinese proverb. Our journeys are just beginning! Keep writing Adam and thank you for being such an inspiring runner.

  56. Justin

    Thanks for the nice article Adam.. I ve always enjoyed your running quotes. It’s really nice to read an elite athlete announcing to the running community that he is turning a negative into a positive. Looking forward to the challenges of the working person trying to fit in a run, the club runner, weekend warrior or the non elite. It gets old being snubbed bye the athletes you admire. It’s so refreshing when someone who is on the top looks forward to being like you. You don’t need to prove any thing more.. It’s ok to go out and run some 7:15 minute miles and stop and smell the roses on the trails. Thanks again I look forward to reading your book and seeing Kara win some more races.

  57. SK

    Words are not enough to express how much your post inspires me.
    My career as a d1 collegiate runner has been cut short for medical reasons beyond my control. After spending all of high school with only one goal in mind, to run competitively in college, I have felt the need to completely shift not only my goals in college, but also how I define myself. After reading your post I realized that while my goals will shift, who I am will not. I am still a runner and always will be. I may not be competing for a conference title, but I am still the same, dedicated, hard-working individual I always have been. Circumstance have made me wiser. They have not ruined who I am.
    I wish you well as you transition into the next chapter of your life. Many exciting experiences are still to come
    Thank you for such an inspiring and positive post!

  58. ZachFu

    This was sent to my email but I didn’t get the chance to read it until today. As both a writer and a runner, I don’t think that I could appreciate this post more. I had to deal with recurring injuries throughout highschool and I always thought that they would be the reason I had to stop racing. I finally got healthy my senior year, running fairly good times and I managed to walk on to a decent DIII team. I love training with them, through work outs and races, hanging out on the weekends. I’m not even close to the front pack, but I am faster than I ever have been and I am happy.
    Now, after one season, my financial situation has become such that I have decided to go to community college to save money. The hardest part of this decision has been accepting that I need to leave my team behind, so soon after bonding with them and adjusting to college training. I plan to come back and compete if it is ever a possibility but I accept that it probably isn’t going to happen.
    However, I will continue to run despite not having a formal team to train and compete with. I’m going to run with my high school coach, compete in road races, whatever it takes for me to get the the next starting line. For now, racing is still my passion if not that which I am greatest at.
    Thank you Adam, your courage and strength has made me feel much better about what I need to do. I am not an elite, but I too am a runner, right to my core and I will always try to find a way to continue.
    If you can convey emotion and life lessons to your son as well as you do to all of your fans and readers, then you will be a greater father and person than most people can even wish to be.

  59. Gretchen

    I’ve been dealing with hamstring and hip injuries for the past year. My last race was a year ago. It has been so difficult to remain positive not knowing if I will be able to race again or even run without pain. But during this past year I realized that I needed to find an alternate passion, something that get’s me as excited as running does. I miss training, having daily, weekly, and monthly goals to set and meet. I miss the mental aspect of racing and running through the discomfort. Everything I wanted to do was physical in nature which was out of the question. So I decided to revisit some things I used to love; music, animal rescue, and my former career.

    New starting lines. So, I’m now taking flute lessons. Never played the flute before so it’s exciting and new. I have weekly goals and long-term goals associated with the learning the flute. I’m also working for a dog rescue organization similar to the one I used to adopt our dog. I’ve also contacted professors from my graduate school to find out how to get back into the field having been out for 8 years raising my son.

    I’m not giving up on my running, it’s my passion and such a large part of my life and who I am. I’m just trying to find other starting lines.

    Your post came at such an important part in my journey. I wish you well as you begin your new starting lines. Thank you for sharing your story and good luck.

  60. Urban Real Estate Runner

    Powerful article. Brought tears to my eyes. I have live a completely different life and have stood at completely different starting lines but I have dreamed big (wanting to run the Western States 100 miler) and been hindered by ongoing pain in my leg after I ran the San Francisco marathon. I came to the same fork in the road of feeling sorry for myself or accepting the circumstance and moving forward. Your courage is inspiring. I appreciate you sharing your story.

  61. Josh Logan

    Congratulations for “going for it” all the time. So few ever do, and those who do know how difficult it is the entire time. Great job. I’ve got your book on my nightstand queue and very much look forward into diving into it.

  62. Ben Bittner

    Adam, you’ve been my personal running hero for a few years now. Thanks for all your inspiration, it’s really made a difference for me. I’m looking forward to reading ‘Running the Edge!’

  63. Michelle

    Since I’ve been in high school yourself and Kara have been huge inspirations of min, each for your own reasons. I’ve always admired your persistance through your injuries and everything you’ve worked towards. I’m now a jr in college & finally completed my first full cross country season (in the spring i ran my first track season) after being sidelined with an injury for 18 months. My freshman year i blew out my knee in practice, total dislocation, tore my patella ligaments, wrecked my joint, & lost almost all of the cartilage behind my kneecap. Besides knee reloaction & reconstruction, I also got a microfracture and the doctors told me I would pretty much not be able to run at a d1 competitive level again & couldn’t even tell me if I’d be able to leisurely run anymore. I spent SO much time, in my lttle depressed phase, searching & searching for runners to have this injury and come back from it. I found success stories, but i didn’t find one single person, elite runner or blogger, that had a success story afterwards. I found new idols in the process that overcame adversity and injuries and health issues, & they became my motivation. But I became my motivation too, because it upset me that no one had a comeback success, & if they did they didn’t post anywhere I could find about it. It was during that time when I told myself I wasn’t going to sucumb to what everyone says is ‘suppose’ to happen, that I’m not ‘supposed’ to run competitively again, not ‘supposed’ to be even remotely close to how I was before I got hurt. I made the choice to prove everyone wrong & once I did, I was going to find a way to get my story out there to give people that were in my shoes hope to get better. It all sounds awfully dramatic but as I’m sure you know, when you’re feeling low, you NEED those inspirational stories. But I did it, I came back from my injury, and I’m also running faster now than I did before I got hurt. And now, here I am a little over 2 years post-surgery, and one of my long time idols are blogging about the very injury I was searching for.
    So now it is time for me to offer you some advice. The comeback from this injury isn’t easy, its not. Its mentally enduring, and its up & its down from one day until the next. But like you said, you are a runner. And a little bone on bone action between the kneecap will never change that. You can analyze your goals better than anyone else, and I admire so much that you’ve decided to find new starting lines to start at and new finish lines to push for. I was too stubborn to do that, but then again I was also an 18 year old determined to reach some of my collegiate goals. So enjoy your new endeavors with everything that is inside of you, but like you said, never forget that you are a runner.

  64. Scott

    Hi, I’m a 35yo male. I was a very unfit and overweight person a few years ago and through mainly running (a few triathlons as well) I dropped 30kgs and was on my way to becoming reasonably competitive in some local events. I had a way to go, but I was on my way. Literally last week my running ground to a very jolting halt. The previous week I had completed a satisfying (for me) 7k, however just the other day found myself unable to jog further than a couple hundred metres before needing to stop due to severe pain and fatigue in my legs. Putting together a number of other symptoms I’d been experiencing over the last couple of months………The result…a very clear cut and definitive diagnosis of hypothyroidism. Right now I’m struggling to walk up small hills and running seems like a distant impossibility. I’ve read (not saying it’s correct….I’ve just read it) that you were diagnosed with the same condition. I was just wondering if you could share some info with how you’ve managed to overcome the hurdles that this condition presents and are able to perform at an elite level. Right now I feel like my fitness dreams have been shattered, however you surely are a shining example that it is certainly possible to pick things back up. It’s very hard to find info about this for someone in my age group and aspirations. Just wondering if you had any tips or info that might help. Thank you very much.

    • Adam Goucher

      Hi Scott,
      I ‘m sorry to hear about your struggles. I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism in early 2004 and although I was frustrated with the diagnosis, I was happy to have answers to why I was feeling so terrible.
      The best advise I can give you is to listen to you doctors and be patient. Figuring out the right medication and dosing can take some time but once you do you will feel much better and you’ll be back to feeling like your old self.
      All the best!

  65. Laurie

    Thank you for sharing your experience. As my knee pain came, went, came back, then lingered too long…”I didn’t want to know” either… Hesitantly, I requested an MRI and got my results this past week: Meniscus tears. Boo. Deflating news that my body had been trying to share well before the films confirmed. An alone feeling started to engulf me as I thought about missing out on Boston this year, declining invitations for long runs, coaching without jumping in on recovery run days, holding back when my body urges to sprint down an enticing shoreline, telling little kids I can’t join a simple game of tag… A full blown pity party began. I’m still processing the news, researching my options, and feeling a bit lost. Your post has provided me comfort, encouragement, and a reminder that we can choose to be runners beyond injury– And runners are something much more than folks who run, you’ve modeled. I’ll learn to look forward to reinventing my running self. Your post has remidned me that I’ll be in good company. Thanks again.

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