Intro by Steve Woo
If DPMR gave out a Spirit Award or Rookie of the Year Award, the first person that comes to my mind would be Bruna Bradford. It was only May of this year that I first met her when she showed up for our first Tuesday Social Run but it seems like I’ve known her for years. That’s because she’s been a mainstay on this run bringing such great enthusiasm and delightfully positive energy every week, and always there in the end for what has become a Tuesday tradition – Alibi beers followed by Taco Tuesday at Casa B! While she’ll tell you how grateful she is for this group and how much it has meant to her, I’ll tell you we are equally grateful for her and how much she means to this group! She’s a big reason why we’ve continued this run through December. Personally speaking, I would not find myself running this late in the season if it weren’t for Bruna! She motivates me and others to participate (and then eat tacos afterwards!). But beyond the social run group, Bruna has participated in just about every other DPMR function or event. She’s the first one to raise her hand to volunteer at ALL the local races we support. As far as participating in races themself? Yes! One Tuesday when I tried to coerce others to do a half marathon with me that was only a couple weeks away, to my surprise (or maybe not?) she motivated and signed up! I can’t tell you how cool that was to have another clubmate join me. I was just like having a friend join. That’s because she has become just that – a friend. I’m proud to call her a friend and so stoked that she has become such an amazing contributor to the club and our running community. And I look forward to supporting her and seeing her complete her first marathon this January!
Where are you from and where do you live now?
I am from Maringa, state of Parana, Brazil. I have been living in the USA for 4 years now. I started living in Auburn but always spent more time in Truckee than in Auburn and moved here three years ago.
When did you begin running and/or long-distance running, if that applies? Why?
In 2016, when I turned 35 years old, I realized I was sedentary and overweight, with high blood pressure, 42% of body fat, stress, insomnia, grinding my teeth at night due to stress and having constant migraines. After going to the doctor and a nutritionist, I decided it was time for a change. I changed my eating habits and started doing functional exercises. After a month, on July 28th 2016, my former coach told me I would run three miles. I started laughing because I had never run even half a mile. When I finished running (and walking) the three miles in almost 50 minutes I felt so good it felt as if I was Rocky Balboa. On that day I set a goal to run the Tiradentes race six months later, on December 31st. This was a race that I always watched on TV since I was a child. It is an internationally famous road race of 15km (a little over 9 miles) that happens in Sao Paulo and it is one of the largest ones in the world in terms of number of runners. In six months I had lost all the weight I needed, I did not have migraine anymore, insomnia, stress or grinding teeth. I was happy and learned that I could do a lot more than I could possibly think of.
Do you race? Does racing motivate you? If not racing, what motivates you?
Race motivates me to train more. When I enroll in a race I train harder because there is a commitment there. I have run eight half marathons and I am about to run my first marathon on January 15th 2023, in Houston, Texas.
Do you have any dream races (either hoping to qualify for or get selected for)?
I dream of running the six major marathons.
Do you have a favorite on-trail food or nutrition strategy and favorite post-run meal or beverage?
I have a favorite pre-race habit. The day before the race I have a hyper-hydration day, mainly because I raced in Brazil and it is a lot more humid and hot than here. I drink one bottle of gatorade or similar beverage, one bottle of pedialyte, and one liter of coconut water. My Brazilian nutritionist suggested it and I feel it helped a lot, mainly when I ran in Rio de Janeiro. I also avoid eating salad, vegetables and fruit high in fiber the day before the race. Too much fiber can mess up your stomach on the day of the race and we don’t want that.
What was your favorite running experience this past year?
Pt. Mariah for sure. It is a beautiful race and running among friends always makes a difference.
What was your most challenging/ character-building experience this past year?
My most challenging experience this year was to keep running regardless of the weather conditions. Coming from a tropical country I can say that in the last six months I have finally been able to run in the cold and on the snow thanks to friends from DPMR who have been running with me and giving me advice on winter gear and places to run.
What are your upcoming racing/adventure plans?
This year of 2023 I have by far my biggest challenge: my first marathon in January and in June the Broken Arrow 23k.
What do you do for a living? Is it hard to fit in time for training?
I have just finished my master’s degree in teaching. I teach English as a second language online and also babysit. The hardest part of finding time for training is having to work, having time for my husband and the kids, baking with my stepdaughter who loves it, doing chores around the house and also training.
What led you to join DPMR?
In Brazil I always ran in groups. The city where I lived has over 30 running groups and every month there is a race. Running is a social event there. So when I got here I found it extremely hard to run alone. After checking online I was able to find DPMR but then COVID hit. Thankfully this year we are back and I have never run as much as I have been running now.
What has been your favorite DPMR experience so far?
Friends. In four years living in the USA, I was only able to start making friends through DPMR. This has been the best year I have been experiencing by far. I started making friends when I volunteered in the aid stations and also during our social runs.
Favorite local trail?
I always lived in a planned city in Brazil where the streets and avenues are like boxes and we always ran on the road for safety reasons. Running in the trails in Truckee brought me a whole new experience of beauty and relaxation. Because of my lack of experience on trails, I always get lost if I am by myself. That’s another reason why I love Tuesdays social runs and hardly ever missed any. My favorite trail is the loop we did at Old Greenwood running from Alibi and back. There is a switchback part that is super hard but the view is rewarding.
Do you have a mental training technique, mantra, or similar that you rely on to combat the mentally trying times of a longer run?
I always think about all the hard things that happened to me throughout my life and talk to myself “you never gave up during those tough times, so you will not give up now. You went through more difficult moments, so you got this”. And I try to remember all those difficult situations and keep talking to myself.
Do you listen to audio while you run and if so, what have you been enjoying lately?
I like to listen to Brazilian podcasts with funny stories about people when I am running alone. But when I am in a race I never listen to anything. I like to be completely focused on the race.
Recovery technique(s) that you swear by?
Get inside a bucket full of ice up to my hips and stay there for a minute.
Do you have a favorite piece of running gear?
I cannot run in daylight without my Oakley running sunglasses that I have had since my first year of running. I have tried to run with other sunglasses but as I start sweating the glasses start falling off my nose.
What other outdoor or indoor interests do you have?
I have fallen in love with snowboarding and hiking. Truckee is such a beautiful town full of nature that I feel like I want to take advantage of being outdoors as much as possible.
Any interesting facts about yourself you would like to share?
When I was a teenager I hated running and thought it was boring. Only after I was forced to run my first three miles I realized how good it makes me feel.