Love Hurts

By Carrie Barrett – February 7, 2013

Any sport worth doing takes its toll 

I love training and I love competing. It makes me feel complete and strong in a way that nothing else does. With love, though, comes inevitable pain. I have felt the pain of pushing myself through walls of fatigue and suffering. I have felt the physical pain of falls, crashes, and surgeries that invariably come with long-term participation in sport. I have also felt the pain of ending a race or a season too soon because it became unbearable.

Sing it with me now: “Love hurts, love scars/Love wounds, and marks” (from “Love Hurts” by Nazareth).

When I look in the mirror, I see a body full of scars. I see what's left of road rash on my leg and arm from a solo bike crash. There are remnants and abrasions from falls during trail runs. There are incisional wounds from a hip labral repair and a large gnarly scar across my abdomen from a surgery to replace a blocked artery in my leg. I have the pleasure of seeing stretch marks, a muffin top, and cellulite that makes me wonder aloud in daily frustration, “How in the hell does my body look like this?”  Really, to look in the mirror, I should be horrified at what looks back. It isn't always pretty.

And yet, I choose to love. I love this body that refuses to give up even when there's really nothing at stake aside from my long-term sanity. I love this soul that is always reaching and grasping for the next adventure. I love this mind that is constantly seeking and sharing wisdom and experience. I love this community of Austin that relishes and indulges in the surroundings we have been given.

It's a love that emits dedication, commitment, and passion. Love isn't always pretty. In fact, it rarely is. Even the best relationships are covered in bruises and abrasions. Even the most solid foundations are shaky under a wheel that's going flat.  But, with a little rest, TLC, patience, and support, even the biggest bruises and scars can heal into something beautiful. Always choose love.

February is also the time to fully commit to the training schedule. We pick up the mileage and we incorporate more speed and hill work into our weekly runs. Do you love it? Are you willing to commit to being a better runner? Show your passion and enjoy weeks five through eight of the Austin American-Statesman Capitol 10K training schedule.

Running hills takes strength and practice. I recommend practicing on softer surfaces until you are ready to tackle the roads. In addition to leg strength, don't neglect to train your glutes and abs. These are key muscle groups in order to minimize fatigue and injury.

Coach Carrie's Tips for Running Up Hills 

  1. Create a slight forward lean going into the hill, but keep torso erect. Don't break at the waist.
  2. Pretend a rope is coming out of your chest and someone is pulling you up the hill.
  3. Look up to the top of the hill (if you can see it!), not at the ground. This will ensure good posture.
  4. Shorten your stride and make sure your feet are hitting the ground below your hips and not in front of you.
  5. Think of yourself as moving in a "controlled fall."
  6. Run hills like you pedal up them, by focusing on quick turnover and keeping your effort level low. This may mean slowing down, but don't worry: you'll catch them on the downhill!

Coach Carrie's Tips for Running Down Hills 

  1. Adjust your posture so that you are perpendicular with the hill. Don’t lean back.
  2. Practice allowing your legs to turn over more quickly while going downhill.  Remember that gravity is your friend.
  3. Make sure your feet fall directly below your center of gravity. Otherwise, you're putting on the brakes and putting stress on your knees, back and lower body.
  4. Try to land on the balls of your feet so that you avoid heel striking.
  5. Relax and don't run "out of control."

Check out the entire Cap 10K training plan online at Training Peaks, click here!


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