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Brooks Run Happy Cavalcade of Curiosities

Witness the extravaganza of a one-of-a-kind double decker bus transform itself into an 18′ tall exciting and interactive display showcasing Brooks latest running technologies.  Free gait analysis, product trial and try to walk on water in our Brooks DNA demonstration.

Every visitor will receive a free gift and be entered to win a trip for two to a 2011 Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon event of their choice!

Sunday, November 7
12pm-4pm at Soler’s Sports

14405 Old Bandera Road
Helotes, TX 78023

One of 50 Best Running Stores in America!

We’re celebrating this month at Soler’s Sports, and for good reason. We are honored to be considered a top 50 Running Store in America. For 21 years now we’ve kept our runners running and their feet happy.

Our third year to be awarded,  we’ve been recognized among the best stores in America at giving our valued customers the attention and service they deserve. We know why it’s important to place your foot in the right shoe because we love running, too…we’re out there running with you.

We look forward to proving ourselves worthy of such an honor. Come in today to find out why we are One of the 50 best!

Value in Vengeance

By Gary Brimmer. Gary is Store Manager at our Soler’s Tri Sports in Old Town Helotes.

In my 35+ years of competitive running, I have only had one guy that I would define as my “arch rival”.  By this I mean, a fellow competitor that got under my skin so much that I actually would lose sleep obsessing about racing him.

I first  raced this guy we’ll call “Dave” (well that was his name) when I was a sophomore in high school and he a freshman.  Dave’s school didn’t have a cross country program so I only raced him on the track.  I faced him a couple times that year, beating him in the dual meet but getting nipped at the tape by him in an invitational.  Dave turned a lot of heads, however, by winning the 2 mile at our conference championships.  His victory at that meet turned him into my monster in the closet.

My junior year in high school turned into one failed track race after another-trying to beat Dave at any distance.  He would sit on me and out kick me every time we raced each other.  The real frustrating thing was that I would post faster times in other meets when not facing him, but couldn’t figure out how to beat him.  Not only that, but Dave started to become quite smug when talking to me.  He knew he had my number and he also knew he was the top guy in the conference.  I went into our regional meet seeded first in both the mile and the 2 mile. I not only lost to him in both races, but finished 3rd in both and failed to qualify for the state meet.

Dave leading the way in the two mile, me getting ready to drop back to third!

Again his reaction was quite smug.  I faced him 4 more times that  season, our conference meet and an all star meet, again running very poorly and losing to him.

He never really said anything arrogant or cocky, that is until the early spring of my senior track season.  Now mind you we were from western Michigan, we did pretty silly things for entertainment.  Dave was no different and he separated his shoulder after a snowboarding accident.  Well, he was on a snowboard, being towed by a car down a snow covered city street.  The car was going too fast and, you guessed it, he fell.

The first meet that season was shortly after his little accident.  It was an indoor meet at Ferris State University, 11 laps  to the mile.  I ran very well,  10:03 for the 2 mile, placing first at an invitational for the first time.

Holding off one last challenger

Dave found it necessary to search me out to tell me, “the only reason you won was because I wasn’t in the race.  Maybe so, maybe not. But that comment really set me off.   The rest of the season we faced each other several times, and I won every two mile, while he beat me in the mile three times (sit and kick).

Now, the third time he beat me that year was at the State meet, I choked on a monster crap burger after going through the 800 in 2:08 and completely freaking out! I’m pretty sure I was last, in fact I think Donna Donakowski, the girls mile winner even ran faster! I came back well later in the day and placed 7th in the 2 mile, once again beating my rival.  So I’m sitting there after the race, very happy to have medaled, when Dave comes up to ask what I was running in the All Star meet in 4 days.   This all star meet was almost as big as  the State meet for many of us.  To be invited one had  to be ranked in the top 10 in their event.   Dave had actually won the 2 mile as a freshman and sophomore, and wanted to win it again.   I had actually qualified in the 800, mile and 2 mile and was actually thinking about running the 800 and mile only. Now Dave serves up his second volley of smack when he says, “I’m only running the 2 mile so I make sure I’m rested to beat you” (ok so not so much smack, but remember I’m a high school kid and it really ticked me off!!)   So right then and there I decide to run only the 2 mile.

The day of the meet we all gather at my coaches house to catch a ride to the meet, the area newspaper which sponsored the meet did an article on all the favorites. They did pretty nice in depth interviews on each favorite. Now, mind you, I’m seeded #1, by several seconds, but since Dave was the 2 time defending champion, and because he was from the city in which the paper was from, he was interviewed. (I’m steaming!!) Smack #3 from Dave in the interview was when asked, what runners he respected, he listed 2 very good runners, kids I had battled all through my high school career, but hadn’t lost to in the last 2 years. He was then asked specifically about me.   His words were something to the effect of “I don’t really worry about him, you never know how he’s gonna run, I don’t consider him a threat”

Dave and I after our last race

The 45 minute ride to the meet is a blur to me. Several other runners read the story as well and asked me about it. I simply smiled and said nothing.   I didn’t care if Dave did his typical sit and kick, although I decided a hard first mile would be in order. I had a rough patch during the last 2 laps, and he hung in pretty well, but with 200 to go, I took a glance over my shoulder where he was camped out and I made sure I looked him in the eyes…and dropped him hard.  Not a stellar time, 9:39 if I recall correctly. I still have this picture my coach took of me after the finish, me standing there pretty tired, my rival bent over in exhaustion, shaking my hand.

I had ended my high school running career with not only a victory, but a victory filled with sweet vengeance!    Sometimes I really miss high school running!

The Beauty of a Fall Marathon

By Gary Brimmer

For many runners autumn brings running a fall marathon. The weather for fall marathons is crisp and clear. Race morning brings that bite in the air as one takes those nervous breaths prior to hearing the gun go off, sending them on their way to hopefully a successful 26.2 miles of hell!!

But the results of a fall marathon be they good or bad, depend on what one did or didn’t do in the months leading up to that race. Each runner, if he or she properly prepared for their marathon put in hundreds of miles of specific training, probably went thru 2-3 pairs of training shoes, and drank gallons of water and Heed in the months leading up to race day.

The first step a marathoner makes is simply to make the decision to run the marathon. For a fall marathon it’s usually made sometime in early spring. They sit down and either make a training schedule themselves or, in the case of my athletes, have their coach send them their workouts. These training schedules, whether they are self made or done by a coach, are a form of a contract, a contract with nobody but themselves.

The schedule complete, the fun part begins. Early in the schedule the training is easy, relaxed, the calm before the storm. The early spring thru early summer weather is bearable. No realy hard workouts, just long easy mileage with some quick turnover work on the track. But somewhere around late June early July things start getting ugly. Not only do the workouts start to become more challenging, but the temps start to rise, along with the humidity. But, the strange thing is, as the training becomes more difficult, due to increased mileage and longer intervals, the body starts to harden. One will go to the track, almost in fear, body feeling tired, muscles sore, mind numb. The warm-up is a chore, but the marathoner works thru it, the strides start out to be forced, but the snap slowly comes back to the legs. The marathoner steps on the track for that first of what will feel like way too many 1000 meter or mile repeats. Off they go getting that first one out of the way. As the marathoner hits the first turn something happens, the body relaxes, the legs start to feel springy, the breathing effortless. The first interval complete, the marathoner looks at the split and sees that the time was right on the mark of what the workout called for. It stays that way for not only the workout, but for each of the training runs, sluggish at first but almost out of nowhere, the workout simply “flows”.

Not all the training runs are effortless; there will be plenty of runs that challenge the resolve of the marathoner. Plenty of long runs in the summer heat that melt the excess weight off the body of the marathoner. Plenty of early morning runs done in an attempt to beat the July and August heat, so many in fact that many times the marathoner will actually wake up 2 miles into a morning run! There will be aches and pains along the way. Knees will ache, hamstrings and calves will cramp up in the middle of the night. But, despite all this, the alarm clock will go off and out the door the marathoner heads.

But the best thing off all takes place sometime around middle to late September. The marathoner will be in the middle of a 20+ mile training run and IT will happen, out of nowhere, IT appears, unannounced, unseen, and totally by surprise. The IT is the smell of a fall marathon. The marathoner will simply smell the early morning air and the fragrance will be the calling of the marathon. If one has never trained for a marathon, the concept is foreign and can not be explained.

Summer turns to Autumn and the morning weather starts to cooperate. Recovery runs are done in long sleeves, shorts, and gloves! Each run seems effortless, miles fly by. The hard work is complete. The last long run is done and the marathoner doesn’t know what how to feel. Weeks earlier there was a dread at the start of what felt like endless 20 milers. Now with the last one in the bank, the questions start to creep in. “Did I do enough?”, “Will that one day on the track where I only did six 1000 meter repeats instead of eight come pack to hurt me?” But in the back of the mind the thought is clear, the work is done, now comes the taper!

The taper is actually the hardest portion for the marathoner, after weeks, even months of scores of 8 mile recovery runs and endless mile repeats, the marathoner feels guilty about heading out the door for “just” a 6 miler. But the belief and confidence in the training program override the desire to do more. All that is left is to toe the line.

So there they are, in the early stage of the race. In pursuit of the goal, be it to simply finish, break 3:00, qualify for Boston, or even the Olympic Trials. There will be rough spots in the marathon, just like in the months of training leading up to the marathon. There are no promises; the marathon can be a tyrant. But, trained right, discipline instilled, mileage done when nobody is looking the marathoner will reach the goal.

“Throwing up after a hard run is just your body’s way of telling you that you ran well.” – Gary Brimmer

Keep it safe!

By Daniel Gambino

If you’re safe out there while running and riding, you’re going to have more fun. In turn, you’re going to find more enjoyment and stay healthier. Pretty simple stuff, huh?

So here’s a list of things to consider each and every time you exercise and work out. Hopefully these simple steps will help avoid injury, minimize risk, and keep you out there having fun!

1. Always try to run and ride with a partner or group of people near your skill level. That way if something goes wrong you have help already there to assist you. It’s also much harder to skip a run when you have someone else depending on you. Among other benefits, it will motivate you to keep going while giving you a chance to actually pace yourself safely. Heart-rate monitors are also an extremely effective tool in keeping your target pace in check.

2. Stay hydrated. This is so very important, especially at this time of year. Drink before, during, and after your work out. Temperatures can reach well above 120 Fahrenheit on the streets, so keeping fluids down will help keep you from over-heating and prevent a trip to the ER. No-brainer! So invest in products that make this easier. Hydration packs, belts, and bottles are all effective ways to keep fluids on you and ready to use. I prefer products that are durable, BPA free, and it’s nice when they’re insulated to keep your drinks cold even on a hot day.

3. Plan out your route before your workout by driving your course or mapping out your way with GPS. That way you can constantly keep track of how far you’ve gone and how much farther you have left to go. It also makes you more aware of your surroundings, which is always a good thing to do no matter where you are or what you’re doing. If you’re counting on running by a convenience store to get additional hydration, this is a great way to plan that as well. If you’re running, always run AGAINST traffic! If you’re riding, obey all traffic laws… police are watching cyclists, too!

4. Be careful not to increase your mileage and time by more that 10% per week. Doing so puts you at risk of over-committing yourself to exercises you may not be ready for. Keep patient and stick with your schedule, and in the end the benefits will take care of themselves. Never run two long days back to back. Recovery time is just as important as the workout itself.

5. Don’t stretch cold muscles! This can lead to pulls and tears in muscle fibers which can easily lead to big trouble and injury. First, warm up by jogging or walking briskly for several minutes before stretching. But never forget to stretch!

6. Ice aching muscles and joints as quickly as possible. This will cut down on inflammation and swelling and will quicken recovery time. But never ice for much more than 20 minutes at a time.

7. Try to avoid playing music while exercising. This will not only allow you to concentrate on your form and pace, but will also allow you to be more in touch with what is happening around you and behind you. You may not hear the squeal of tires or the angry Great Dane on pursuit until it’s too late.

8. Carry essentials! Some items I never leave without are my phone, a credit/debit card, and especially my ID. It’s not worth the risk to not have these items in an emergency, you’ll be glad you brought them with you.

9. Invest in proper running/cycling apparel and equipment. Clothing with reflective materials can literally be life saving. NON-cotton socks will avoid blistering and soggy feet, and products such as Body-Glide will prevent chaffing. Clip-on blinky lights aren’t bright enough to light your path, but they get the job done by letting motorists know that they need to steer clear.

Daniel is a bike tech, web developer, and shoe enthusiast for Soler’s Sports. He’s been on the team for over a year, and enjoys getting to know new people that come into the store every day. You can often find him riding his single speed mountain bike at parks around the city, or taking a joy ride on one of his vintage road bikes through Grey Forest.

New and improved Soler’s Sports webpage

We love what we do and we care about our friends that run, ride, and swim along with us. That’s why we’ve decided to make it easier for you to get involved, see what’s new, read about exciting products, and get professional, unbiased advice to help you run farther, ride longer, and swim easier.

We pride ourselves in giving you the attention you deserve to compete or play at your best. For over 20 years, you’ve allowed Soler’s Sports to be a part in that process, and we look forward to being there with you for years to come…

So go ahead, take a look around on our new site. See what’s new, schedule to train with us, and see when and where the next race or event is. We’d love to see you there!

Best wishes,

The Soler’s Sports Team