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.

 

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)

 

Three Important Things to Remember When Buying Running Shoes

You’ve decided it’s time to upgrade those ratty old sneakers that have seen better days. The only trouble with leaving your old, faithful sneaks behind is the daunting selection of running shoes that exists. It’s likely been several years since you purchased your current shoes and therefore entirely possible the newest model of the same shoes is now different. So it just makes sense to really take inventory of what the running shoe market has to offer these days and research some different options.

  1. Expect a Workout – The best and really only way to know if a shoe is right for you is to get moving in them. Most running stores have a treadmill within the store or will allow you to take the shoes outside for a quick jog in the parking lot. When taking your test drive of the shoes, pay close attention to all of the pinches and pokes you feel in the shoe. They may seem minuscule right now but deep into your log run those once small pinches will feel like a boulder in your shoe.
  2. Shoes Make a Difference – You may not be an elite runner with a sponsorship deal but you do deserve a good quality shoe in your budget. I urge you to save up and allow yourself to splurge on a shoe towards the higher end of your budget that meets all your fit requirements. Your feet are where this running journey begins, so be good to them and you will hopefully be able to continue running for years to come.
  3. Listen to Your Gut – Most Sales Associates at speciality running stores are well versed in the different styles and fits of various running shoes. They are there to assist you and often guide you in the right direction. However, you are ultimately the one that knows your body best and what your feet feel most comfortable in. Listen to your instincts and choose the shoe that feels the best on your foot. You will have a long relationship with them so might as well start off on a good note.

The bottom line in finding the shoe that’s right for you is be patient and don’t be afraid to try on a million shoes.