Where to Recycle Running Shoes in Oklahoma

Happy Earth Day! Today marks the 45th anniversary of Earth Day and celebrates the efforts of more than 192 countries in supporting environmental protection. Runners in Oklahoma are no different and we take great pride in maintaining and preserving this beautiful state  we love to race across. There are even a few local options that Oklahoma runners can utilize to reduce, reuse, or recycle their running equipment.

Reduce

Reusable water bottles made of recyclable materials such as glass or aluminum are a great way to reduce waste that is produced in not only producing plastic water bottles but in the disposal of them as well.

Reuse

If you have a pair of gently used running shoes that maybe didn’t work out , were the wrong size, or just need an update then Soles4Souls is a great opportunity to share those shoes so someone can get some good use of them. Soles4Souls  is a shoe charity that gives “gently used” shoes to those in need. The Soles4Souls team coordinated relief efforts for the Asian tsunami and Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, netting over 1 million pairs donated for these disasters. There are a couple of metro OKC locations that accept donations such as Brighton Collectibles located at 1901 NW Expressway, Nancy Farha’s at 120 North Robinson, and The Lamkin Clinic at 120 North Bryant Avenue in Edmond.

Recycle
Nike’s Reuse-a-Shoe program collects worn-out athletic shoes (any brand, not just Nike) and recycles them (rather than going into landfills) into material used in sports surfaces like basketball courts, tennis courts, athletic fields, running tracks and playgrounds for kids around the world. You can drop your old, worn down shoes at The Nike Factory Store at the Outlet Shoppes on West Reno Avenue.

 

Beyond shoes, if you have energy bars wrappers such as Clif bars or performance packets such as Gu then Terracycle can help you to recycle them. Terracycle has partnered with different organizations to create a free recycling program and a fundraising opportunity for participants.

 

Remember the Ten on Hall of Fame Ave

Remember the Ten Run Race Recap

On January 27, 2001, ten members of the Oklahoma State University basketball team perished in a plane crash. It was an tragic event that rocked the small university community as well as the entire state. On April 21st 2007, a race was organized for a community to come together and remember those that were lost.

Over the past nine years the event has grown to a field of over 1,200 participants with proceeds benefiting the OSU Counseling and the RT10 Scholarship Program.  Remember the Ten Run is one of the few races in this state that openly benefits mental health services and discusses topics such as loss, sadness, and depression. Even though the overlying topics of the event are serious, the event itself is a great celebration of athletics and community.

In addition to the run, the day is filled with the spring football game and Stillwater Arts Festival. So there are plenty of attractions for the entire family. Besides, you can always stop by Eskimo Joe’s for an order of chili-cheese fries and hang with Joe and Buffy.

remember the ten eskimo joes buffy and joe

The race course winds in and out of Oklahoma State University campus, fraternity/sorority row, and surrounding business and houses. The first mile takes you west on Hall of Fame Ave. Because the 10K and 5K runners all start together it’s a big jumbled mess of different paces, walkers and runners. Once you curve on to Western road, it’s a nice down hill stretch. It’s a great point to pick up the pace because the 5K runners are starting to turn off on to their own course and the road opens up on the 10K course with fewer runners. Mile three takes you through a residential area with sporadic spectators comprised of college students, young families, and retirees out supporting the runners. I happily accepted high-fives and cheers from college students and grade schoolers alike. Mile four drops you through some of the fraternity and sorority houses as well as some of the local bars on the strip. As the course turns north on Knoblock Street it passes three of my most favorite things, Chris’ University Spirit Shop (my favorite spot to buy OSU gear), Hideaway Pizza (I could live on ‘za alone), and my boo thang (a.k.a. husband who was nice enough to hang with me and snap some pics).

Remember the Ten running

Miles five and six wind you back out west of campus then east again to pass through campus as you run past the library and Boone Picken Stadium to cross the finish line just south of Gallagher-Iba Arena. The winner of the race was Normanite, Scott Downard with a 5:15 pace finishing in 32:40. That’s the 10K folks. I still can’t wrap my mind around the fact that people run the same routes as me at twice my speed and don’t immediately die afterwards. It’s crazy. I placed 195th overall, 80th out of all women, and 15th in my age group with an average pace of 10:06 and overall time of 1:02:50. Not too shabby for me. I’m chipping away at pace and distance. Just trying to get faster at those longer distances.

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Ultimately, the course was flat with lots of great  scenery around OSU’s campus. But what made this course stellar was the numerous amount of volunteers. The friendly folks at the registration table, the pace dividers at the starting line, course managers directing runners and traffic, and the oh-so-wonderfull water station volunteers throughout the course made it a safe and enjoyable atmosphere. Also, I didn’t hate the sweet swag that came with the reasonable race entry fee.   

It was a great race, for a good cause, on a beautiful Oklahoma spring day. I couldn’t ask for anything more.

chocolate strawberry smoothie

Post-Workout Chocolate Strawberry Banana Smoothie

If you’re anything like me, you graciously enjoy the 5AM drive to the gym each morning for a little “me time” while the rest of your family sleeps.  But hectic schedules filled with work, family, and errands make meal planning difficult. So the hard work put in at the gym is thrown away with less than ideal food you choke down throughout the day out of convenience rather than nutritional value or even taste.

That’s how protein smoothies became my savior. They are easy and help to meet your nutritional needs in only 5 minutes. Better yet, getting the right mix of protein and carbohydrates within 30 minutes of a workout or race can help with and replenish glycogen stores to help shake that tired, zombie feeling.

My favorite smoothie right now is a chocolate, strawberry, banana concoction. I like to think the strawberries are helping with inflammation of my sore muscles, but really I just love chocolate and strawberries together.  I find that drinking one of these after my intense workouts prevents me from becoming ravenous a few hours later and regretfully finishing off whatever snacks or junk food I can find.

Recipe:

In a blender, mix the following together until smooth:

1 scoop of protein powder

2 oz almond milk

2 oz chocolate milk (for an extra chocolate flavor, otherwise you can use just almond milk)

1 ripe banana

1/2 cup sliced strawberries

1 cup of ice

In addition to a smoothie like this, it’s important to drink plenty of water after your workout. I personally aim for drinking at least 8 to 16 oz right after my workout.

April 2015 – Oklahoma City Area Races

April is just around the corner and as many of you are aware April is the busiest running month in the Oklahoma City area. The Memorial Marathon and Redbud Classic are two HUGE racing events that can really over shadow some of the smaller, local events. So Run Oklahoma has decided to spot light some of the lesser known races happening around this state in the month of April. Check out a more expansive list on our Find a Race page.

Lowest Registration FeeThe Chickasaw Nation Rabbit Run 5K will be held on Saturday, April 11th at 8:30 AM CDT in Purcell, Oklahoma. This race will be timed. But best of all, registration is FREE!  Paying $25 here and $30 there to race in 5K runs throughout the year can really start to take a toll on your wallet. So take advantage of the lowest registration we could find! Also, you can snag a FREE race t-shirt with online registration prior to Friday, March 27. That’s tomorrow, so act fast. Free fitness and clothes! What more could you ask for?

Most Overlooked– Stillwater is a great, small town with plenty of family entertainment to offer. However, it is a bit of a jaunt from the Oklahoma City area. So it’s no surprise that a 5K and 10K race through the Oklahoma State University campus may be overlooked with the many other events going on this month. If you’re looking for a middle distance run with smaller crowds and beautiful scenery than the Remember the Ten is the one for you.

Family Friendliest – If you have kids, you may find it difficult to get them excited about coming along with you on yet another race. Well the Super Heroes Foster Run at Stars and Stripes Park has you both covered. Everyone is encouraged to dress in super hero inspired costumes and there will be inflatable bouncy houses, face painting, and food trucks to keep the whole family happy.

Get out this month and enjoy some local races and the beautiful spring weather!

Oklahoma Ranked Lowest Five in Physical Well-Being

The Gallup-Healthways recently released an annual well-being index. Well-Being Index includes more than 2.1 million surveys and captures how people feel about and experience their daily lives. The well-being index data provides a comprehensive view of well-being across five elements. One element is labeled ‘physical’ and described as “having good health and enough energy to get things done daily”.

Oklahoma was ranked 39th for overall well-being and a disappointing 46th for the specific element of physical well being.

The top ranked ten states in overall well-being were:

  1. Alaska
  2. Hawaii
  3. South Dakota
  4. Wyoming
  5. Montana
  6. Colorado
  7. Nebraska
  8. Utah
  9. New Mexico
  10. Texas

Some of the top ranked states are in relative close proximity to Oklahoma such as Colorado, New Mexico, Texas and Nebraska.  Therefore, it appears geography isn’t the sole reason for ranking higher. Oklahoma did rank well in social, community, and purpose elements of the index. This type of report will hopefully aid lawmakers and communities of Oklahoma in identifying areas of improvement and encourage continued efforts of making Oklahoma a happier and healthier state.

Surprises at O’Connell’s St. Paddy’s Day 8K Run

Today I ran in O’Connell’s 16th Annual St. Paddy’s Day 8K Run in Norman, OK. The run benefitted the Special Olympics of Oklahoma. Thanks to events like this over 10,500 Special Olympic athletes participate in more than 140 competitions and training events annually. It’s been almost five years since my last real race and I figured a fun race benefiting a great organization was a great way to start. I spent those years on the sideline with injuries and workout restrictions due to pregnancies. This is the first race I’ve been able to run that I’ve been able to train for. It’s almost easier to run a race that I haven’t trained for. My expectations are set so low that I really am just concerned with finishing the race rather than pace and stride.

Nervously prepping the night before.
Nervously prepping the night before.

This race had all the makings to be a personal disaster. My worrisome mind was beginning to get the best of me and I had a giant stomachache. My IT band was tight and my knee was aching for the past few days. The weather was overcast, cold, and windy. Not the sunny, temperate day I was expecting.

As I did a quick warm up jog and stretched out near the starting line, the bag pipers started playing and my mood brightened a little. The runners lined up at the starting light and a few of the Special Olympic athletes recited their mantra:

“Let me win, but if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt.”

It was a keen reminder of the purpose for the race and for runners to give their best regardless of the circumstance.

At the sound of the shotgun the race started and it was a sea of green runners headed down the streets of Norman. The first mile was uncomfortable because my muscles took their time to warm up in the cool early spring breeze. Around mile two I was surprised to find my own personal cheering crew. My husband and two young daughters decided to brave the chilly day and cheer for me along the road. I nearly broke out in tears to see my four-year-old daughter jumping up and down, waving me on. The joy I felt from getting high fives from my family was short lived because as I turned the corner for miles three and four I started getting passed by other runners and the enemy within was repeating “you’re so slow”, “your legs are concrete”. My training was seemingly failing me.

But my little cheering section popped back up again at mile five. My husband’s smiling face saying “you’re freaking awesome” was all I needed. I reminded myself the reason I run is not because I’m some star athlete hitting world records. I run to be healthy for my family and to be an example for my kids. I want them to understand that fitness is a lifelong effort. And that they can do anything they set their minds to. After seeing them again I decided the only repeating words in my mind would be “you got this” and “run with joy”. So that’s what I did. I waved at spectators, I focused on relaxing my face and smiling, and huffed out a couple of breathy thank you’s to the cops directing traffic along the race route. I turned the corner to the final leg of the race and saw the beautiful, inflatable finish line. My cement legs were aching and I didn’t have much gas left in the tank. I couldn’t make out the numbers on the clock until I was steps from crossing the finish line. As I crossed the finish I saw 4X:XX. It didn’t matter what the rest of the numbers were because that ‘4’ told me all I cared about. I just ran an average pace of sub 10/mile. The race had been full of pleasant surprises so it was only fitting that it finished with one as well.

I finished 100th overall, 39th out of all females, and 10th in my age range. The winner, Matthew Brafford, finished in under 25 minutes with a 5/mile pace. My sub 10/mile seems mediocre at best compared to that. But it’s my personal race and my results have encouraged to keep running and continue to improve.

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Even better, there was beer, a bouncy house, music, and face painting after the race. Despite the chill in the air, my cheering squad and I were able to enjoy the festivities and have a great Saturday morning.

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Do You Need Another Reason to Complete a Triathlon?

The word ‘Ironman’ is intimidating all on it’s own. It conjures visuals of incredibly fit individuals with an insane dedication to fitness that many don’t understand. An Ironman Triathlon is one of a series of long-distance races consisting of a 2.4-mile swim, a 112-mile bicycle ride and a marathon 26.2-mile run, raced in that order and without a break. Typically, these events are held to a strict deadline of 17 hours to complete.

What if you weren’t restricted by the 17 hour time limit but rather a 30 day limit, would you consider an Ironman Triathlon? Whether you are looking to lose weight this year or need a boost to your current fitness routine, starting Saturday, March 7th your local Oklahoma YMCA is providing an opportunity to compete in an Idle Ironman Triathlon. The distances are all the same as a typical Ironman you just get more time to complete the challenge.

There are some hardcore runners thinking this will take you away from you first love, running. But really, cycling and swimming are great cross training exercises that will help you grow into a stronger, well balanced runner.

YMCA Idle Ironman 2015
YMCA Idle Ironman 2015

March 2015 – Oklahoma City Area Races

The cold and snowy weather that Oklahoma has been experiencing this week makes the spring and summer weather arriving soon that much more appealing. March is a great month for races in Oklahoma. The lingering chill in the air, budding trees, and occasional rain showers make these early spring races a nice warm up for the sweltering heat that summer races will be waged. Here at OK Run we have put together a list spotlighting a few March racing events. A more comprehensive list of events can be found on the events page.

Trail RacesThe Trail Madness race at Turkey Mountain in Tulsa, Oklahoma has a distance for just about anyone. The race is entirely on the Turkey Mountain trail system so it will offer a technical course that will require you to maneuver sticks, rocks, and mud. Also, the area is beautiful and offers a nice overlooking view of the river. Sunday, March 1st at 1PM CST.

St. Patrick’s Race – March 14th is the 13th Annual O’Connell’s St. Patrick Day 8K in Norman, OK. Proceeds benefit Special Olympics Oklahoma. In addition to the 8K, they are also having a one-mile fun run, prizes for runners, door prizes for the event, and prize money for participating schools. With all of the prizes it’s sure to be a great party. Besides is there any better way to celebrate St. Paddy’s Day than relaxing with a beer after a run?

Long Distance – The 5th annual running of the A2A Arbuckles to Ardmore Race for Mercy is a two-day community wide event offering opportunities for Oklahomans personally involved in fighting cancer right here at home. The race is being held in a lovely part of the state and offers distances of 5K, Half Marathon, and Marathon.

Whole Food Mid Run Snacks

It’s Friday! Many runners are not only happy that it’s the end of the work week but excited that tomorrow is long run day. Yay! If you have a long run planned this weekend then you may already be planning your fuel. The general rule of thumb when running for longer than an hour is to intake 30 – 60 grams of carbohydrates per hour. The options are endless for mid run fuel such as gels, goos, and gummies. However, the taste of energy snacks can be less than desirable or can just plain upset your stomach. Below are whole food options for your mid run snacks that pack plenty of carbs and a delicious flavor that you don’t have to be on a run to enjoy.

  • Dates – Dates can pack a lot of sugar into a small package. If you have trouble eating while running and need to pack as much whole food sugar into as small a package as possible, give these a try. 1/2 cup, 207 calories, 50 grams carbs
  • Fig Newtons — These cookies have just as much sugar as dried fruits but not as much fiber and may then be easier for your GI Track to handle. 2 cookies, 198 calories, 40 grams carbs
  • Raisins— A small box of raisins are easy to find at any local grocery store. They come in their own small, travel size box ready to go. No prep work needed so it’s a nice, no brainer option. One small box, 123 calories, 33 grams carbs
  • Squeezable Fruit – There is a recent craze of squeezable fruit pouches. They can be found in the baby food isle as well as the canned fruit isle of your local grocery store. The beauty is that there are so many options to choose from, they are portable, easy to consume. If you have extra time on your hands, another option is to create your own using fillable squeeze pouches. For example, using a mushed banana in the pouch then freezing prior to your run gives you a chilly snack for a hot day. 1 large banana,121 calories, 31 grams carbs
  • Trail Mix – You have to be very careful about this one because you don’t want a mix that is heavily comprised of nuts that can weigh you down or wreck havoc on your GI track. A personal favorite happens to be the basic mix that has yummy salted peanuts to aid with hydrations and plenty of raisins and candy coated chocolate for a carbohydrate rich boost for your muscles. 1oz, 140 calories, 13 grams carbs

Valentine’s Day Running Playlist

Valentine’s Day is right around the corner. Show yourself some love and take a heart healthy run while listening to the below LOVE themed playlist. The playlist averages out about 150 beats per minute (BPM) and can be a good rhythm for folks running a pace of about 10:00 minute/mile.

Kings of Leon – Sex on Fire (153 BPM)
Katy Perry – E.T. (150 BPM)
The Donnas – Take It Off (155 BPM)
Passenger – Walk You Home
Kate Nash – Fondations (169 BPM)
What I Like About You (150 BPM)
The Police – Every Little Thing She Does is Magic (163 BPM)
Sia – Elastic Heart (cool down)