BRAVO’S CORNER: Lasting Breakthroughs
While at the Chevron Houston Marathon this past weekend, it struck me that we who run-or walk-or simply take the initiative to move in whatever manner nurtures us have been given a special gift. For some, it comes easy… or at the very least naturally. Some of the athletes I visited with in Houston, and performances I witnessed, leave you marveling at the ability of the human body, and spirit. That's, however, not the theme of today’s blog: EVERYONE who takes the challenge to better themselves by getting active opens a chapter of their lives with no script, and the ending is completely up to one’s dedication, and sometimes sheer will to stick to it.
It’s not just about effort. Sometimes, events present themselves that are beyond our control, or we’re too late to stave off. For instance, it’s easy to overtrain when things are flowing. We tend to feel a bit bullet-proof. Whether elite or not as fast, these are universal tendencies that happen to all athletes at some point in our career. When I say athletes, I don’t speak of any certain ability level, as that word defines, to me, traits that go well beyond the physical!
It’s understandable to want to “up your game” when training’s clicking, or you’re coming off a great performance. That’s reasonable, and to some extent, warranted. This, however, is a perfect time, as well as when other roadblocks like injury, conditions or LIFE, to take a “kinder, gentler” approach to the sport. Try to appreciate that running or walking has allowed you to place fitness and wellness as a priority in your life. Then trust your training and the process. Remember how things you’ve truly had to work for-or wait for-usually take on added meaning? It’s the same with your running. Be patient, and each time you experience improvement, instead of defaulting to always wanting more, take the “mini-victories” that lead to real, lasting breakthroughs!
One more thing: if you always seem to be near the back of the pack, don’t be discouraged: you’re accomplishing the same victories as all the others… sometimes even in more life-changing ways. Those who lead a life of motion are usually the most encouraging people you can find, and that camaraderie will be a strong component in keeping you out there when times are tough. And what’s more: the real stories are usually in back of the pack, so be proud and keep thriving! See you on the roads, and back here soon!
BRAVO’S CORNER: AREN’T WE THE LUCKY ONES?
When in the throws of a long run or hard race, and you’re trying to draw every bit of confidence, reserve, even patience to get through it or finish with something extra, have you ever thought: “How lucky am I?” If not, try the perspective of many I’ve run into all over the country, and you can find this “attitude of gratitude” in any environment in which you walk or run.
I speak to folks everywhere about the Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon…..their experiences during the weekend, and the race itself. Virtually everyone says how the race premise-all it stands for-and the volunteer support…the general warmth exuded by our city, sets it apart from virtually any running experience they have all year. When they retell the events of the race itself, like any half or full effort, there are challenging times, and each race has a distinct personality. At Oklahoma City, often it’s the surprising undulation of a course that appears more flat at first glance, but is a great mix of gentle hills due to the charismatic neighborhoods it traverses. More than that, the ever-present possibility of wind when you least expect it or desire it. Maybe it’s Classen Boulevard, or if pursuing the full distance, Lake Hefner, which marks the halfway point of the race. The message I’ve heard-or hope to pass on is this: As runners are fighting fatigue, conditions-whatever the battle may be-wondering if they should call it a day, many have mentioned that at that most crucial moment, they see one of the banners with the name of someone lost in the bombing. We talked about how that kept them going, that they were running for something more than themselves……in effect: ‘how lucky I am to be able to hurt this much’, while knowing what they know happened on that terrible day in 1995. I find great gratification hearing, or maybe gently reminding of this message, and it’s all I need to know to feel assured that this runner’s perspective toward running, and in fact, LIFE-is well intact. As well, that there’s a great chance they will continue to thrive in our sport for years to come!
Whether it’s an emotional tie, or maybe that you never thought you’d want to be a runner or walker and are discovering a new passion, find your attitude of gratitude and don’t be afraid to draw from it whenever able. The gift is that it usually comes at the most opportune times! Keep thriving, athletes!
These are truly "dog days" of summer, and they've even come a bit earlier than we might have thought. A week in the books of temps hovering around the century mark. At times like these, many of us think first about HOW, WHERE and WHEN we'll get our workouts of choice in. For walkers and runners, you can still fulfill your goals, even outside, but I urge you to approach them with a "kinder, gentler" attitude. We can't expect, at very least when we've not even acclimated to outside conditions, to perform at the same level (intensity and distance) as we're accustomed to. Sometimes that means altering the plan, and accepting less mileage, decreased pace, and reduced time spent. Have you allowed yourself, on a rare occasion, to accept that "Completion is the victory?" I hope so, and it doesn't mean you had no intestinal fortitude or that it will be easier for it to happen again next time! When we accept a different pace, number of miles or "performance goal" on a summer day when conditions are drastic, we're first and foremost helping safeguard our future pursuits, because a real heat event can remain with you from that day forward, no matter how accomplished an athlete you are. Your propensity for repeat effects from heat exhaustion or heat stroke grows, and it can happen out of nowhere!
You can usually gauge how hard or long to go, and have a successful summer out if you keep a few checkpoints in mind:
1) Monitor how you feel after each workout, and for the day following. Any noticeable delay in recovery or unique lethargy is worth noting
2) When going hard or longer distance, try to plan early or late workout times, or take it INSIDE if unusually "testing" effort planned
3) Know that it's not always how much you do, but that the workout gets "in the books". If staying outside predominantly, find an alternate workout for one of the days, and make it INSIDE
This "kinder/gentler" view to your summer workouts will show you that you can come back stronger-mentally and physically-by "taking charge" of your training. And you may even appreciate the ensuing efforts more! Keep thriving, athletes, and maybe I'll see you on the roads soon, or at your next race!
CARE CREDIBILITY LEGACY The OK RUNNER way….
Also, a great Pancake breakfast is furnished afterward, where you can enjoy camaraderie with other runners and walkers. You never know when a Special Olympics dignitary will appear!
OK RUNNER OKC is up and running, and I'm proud to say that with three locations from Norman to Edmond and now in between, we're ready to bring an additional level of excitement to downtown Oklahoma City! For me to say I'm savoring being back downtown after almost 20 years is a tremendous understatement. And very cool being in the actual building of my family business; we were here 30 years from the 60's to late 90's. That adds immense pride to the journey! When folks tell me I've taken a "full circle" back home, though I never really went far-I can honestly concur with great pride.
Enough about me; BRAVO'S CORNER is about you athletes! While we've been getting our feet wet down here (I actually missed Opening Day May 19, as I was promised to the Joplin Marathon that day) we chose NATIONAL RUNNING DAY to mark the "official" opening of the OKC store by treating you to a GRAND OPENING event at our new location, 708 North Broadway, in Automobile Alley downtown Oklahoma City. We'll have a 3-4 mile Social Run debuting the course we'll use for our first 5K from the store, RUN FOR RECOGNITION on Saturday, June 17. Afterward, a cookout with a few local craft beer breweries, and vendors, door prizes throughout the evening. It's our way of supporting the sport we love, and a life of motion and wellness, and also saying "thank you" for helping us achieve 22 years in Oklahoma as the longest-standing specialty running/walking/wellness entity in the state. We invite you to come see the new store, visit with us and other industry experts, and indulge in a celebration that OK RUNNER has made an annual tradition now for years!
I'll hope to see you Wednesday, and often, at our third location, and MY new home.....the OK RUNNER on Automobile Alley, in thriving downtown Oklahoma City! Here's to many smooth and gratifying miles. Keep thriving, athletes!
We're two weeks post-OKC Memorial Marathon, and I sincerely hope the gratification of everyone's accomplishment-no matter your distance, speed or experience-still resonates with you daily. It should, as you did great things that day-and from the moment you committed-not only for yourselves, but for our State, and many people touched by the premise of the event. Many you'll never even meet......and that's just fine. Your work is in, the accomplishment in the books, and you'll have it forever!
I wanted to wait a few weeks to offer any words, as the completion of such a concerted goal-with months of striving and pointing toward a single day-can bring a sense of "letdown" once it's in the books! Don't let that creep into your psyche....instead, use it for a template to further your pursuit, whatever that may be. Whether wellness, motion, better fitness, or heightened running, this uniquely special event-the environment, what it stands for, and the message it sends-can positively be the inspiration for your next milestone.
So congratulations to all who were part of Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon weekend. You made a difference, and here's wishing you great satisfaction from your efforts. No matter how you contributed; as support for others, volunteer, walker or runner, know that you had great IMPACT, and here's to many more chances to "raise your game"....the game of life!
I'll see you next Friday, May 19, when we open OK RUNNER 3.0 in downtown Oklahoma City, 708 No. Broadway, on Automobile Alley!
Be well, athletes, and keep thriving!
17th Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon
THE BEST YOU HAVE.....IS ALL YOU REALLY NEED
Running Lake Hefner Sunday-first time taking a trip around in over a year-created the perfect backdrop for revisiting my gratitude for this sport. The past year-"a series of recoveries"-has been quite comparable to the way I describe half or full marathons to runners, those I coach, and near and far. A few bangups on the road, none which seemed like real injuries, but all pre-empting running "free", challenging the carefree joy so many of us get on the roads....what this period of uncertain miles gave me though, as it always does, is more clarity and a clear reminder that we're promised very little in our pursuit of the sport, and the bigger lesson, from LIFE itself. And what better day to recall and be grateful for so many things than April 19.
The Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon honors and remembers those affected and those lost due to the Federal Building bombing April 19, 1995, while celebrating and uniting so many who gather from all corners of the world. I tell people that the closest feeling of pure meditation I experience is while during a run; I'm most creative, in touch with gratitude, and my CLARITY is most present. The central theme these heightened traits brings to me is that there is of the one thing we are guaranteed when we step outside our "comfort zone", pursuing a goal or end result which has an uncertain path: We live our lives OUT LOUD (however quietly) and that is as much the victory as any finish line, personal best or individual achievement we will ever achieve. In effect, it allows us the privilege to be, as much as we ever are, in control of our destiny!
I'll look forward to seeing you all OKC Memorial Marathon weekend, and I wish for you on Sunday, the 30th, many "peaks and valleys" toward whatever goal you aspire, because you earned them all, and I offer a simple reminder that may help a bit in getting through them: Remember how truly fortunate you are to be able to hurt that much....
There are often personal quests, time goals and expectations tied to an athlete's quest of a starting line; I've been there many times. That's great, and I applaud you for these pursuits. If the end result is in some manner not what you expected, or offers some surprising twists, this is as much a part of the victory as reaching a personal best. Try to remember the big picture when you're digging deep, and that you're doing great things not only for yourself that day, but for many others. Such is my view of the Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon, and why the last Sunday of April feels to me like the best day on the calendar each year.
I'll see you here next week for a final pre-race "Bravo's Corner", and I'm very proud of you all! Go get 'em, athletes!
St. Patty's Day at O'Connell's, OK Runner and Special Olympics Oklahoma... Tradition Continues!
The race offers free Spaghetti dinner Friday night at early signup, and free post-game hamburgers, et al (hint....some are FROSTY!) Truly hope to see you there Saturday morning.....I'll be calling the action, OK RUNNER once again will be ever present helping make the morning most memorable! You'll be doing something good for yourself, and so many others! Keep thriving, athletes!
Register online by tomorrow, Friday, March 10 before prices increase.
https://register.chronotrack.com/r/25025 OR StPat 8K Norman
With the Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon only 11 weeks out, A LOT of excitement is being generated for all the events that weekend. And for good reason…the race is one of the mostly highly-anticipated events in Oklahoma every year. This will be the 17th running of this “destination” race, and there are new developments all of us at OK Runner are fired up about! In case you haven’t heard, we’ll have OK Runner 3.0 open for business before the race!
It’s our third store, and happens to be located less than a block south of the marathon FINISH LINE! Yes, Automobile Alley will be our newest addition to OK Runner’s family of running and wellness locations. So stay tuned for promotions, events and our grand opening.
I look forward to seeing you at the new store…708 No. Broadway, downtown OKC….soon! Enjoy the roads, athletes!
Mark Bravo, Head of OKC Operations, OK Runner
Racing Season Headed This Way
We're coming into racing season, and OK RUNNER is right there to make your experience all it can be! This weekend, Mitch Park in Edmond is the site for the FRIGID FIVE MILE. It's Saturday, February 18, and I'll be there to call the action! OK RUNNER will provide gift cards for raffling post-race. To sign up, go to frigidfive.itsyourrace.com. Proceeds benefit Best Friends of Pets. Then, in March, the St. Paddy's 8K, a true Norman tradition for decades, takes place Saturday morning, March 11. OK RUNNER and "O'Connell's" Irish Pub team to bring you this 5-mile race, along with a Special Olympian Dash before the race. Special Olympics Oklahoma is the beneficiary of the race. It gets no better than seeing the joy from those brave athletes when they perform, and knowing your dollars are helping them be all they can be! "O'Connell's" offers free hamburgers to participants after the race, and you can ring in St. Patrick's Day in true athletic fashion by coming out and joining. Hope I see you there! Register at sook.org, and keep on the lookout for information on our Downtown OKC store. We'll spring into action at 708 No. Broadway, that's Automobile Alley in Downtown OKC, this Spring before the marathon, so I hope to see you there soon, and often! Wishing you gratifying miles.....go get 'em, athletes!
It's April, So you know what that means...
It's just over three weeks to raceday, and hoping preparation for your race has you feeling confident and strong. If not, focus on getting a few quality efforts in prior to April 17 (two weeks before raceday, and beginning of "taper" period.) If your training has generally gone as planned, don't let a few effort-laden runs get in the way of your mindset. It's completely normal, and fairly inevitable that you have a few depleting runs that instinctively leave you wondering: 'How in the world will I do this?' All of us have experienced it; wash it away by "going to your strength"...meaning a "go to" exercise, workout or sometimes the best remedy of all for doubt: Revisit GRATITUDE. Use it during your next run, and the doubt created from that tough outing will be nothing more than history! Also remember this: Those extra-tough days build character, and help us appreciate the smooth days, and how fortunate we are to be able to do this.
And finally, remember the joy of marathon day, and the premise we'll all gather to remember. What an honor to be part of such a worthy
cause. Your raceday will be memorable, and if you've not joined us before, more than you can even envision! Go get 'em, athletes!