Everyday Runner Spotlight: Bruna Gomes
Bruna Gomes, a Brooklyn Running Co. customer and Rerouted Running athlete, is the type of runner that wants to run just for the fun it. Her goal is not to compete or even achieve any time goals – all she knows is that she likes to run and she wants to keep doing it. Because it makes her feel good, physically and mentally.
The majority of what we see in the media continues to be the exceptional accomplishments of a handful; the “elite”. For example, only about 1% of marathoners have run faster than 2 hours and 49 minutes. The vast 99% of runners out there also have stories. They’re just different stories. Most of us have stories that are much more relatable, like Bruna.
From dancing to running
Bruna Gomes grew up dancing from age three and continued throughout most of her life, taking up cheerleading in middle and high school as well. She was always a natural when it came to moving with coordination and agility, but she never applied that gift to sports. Her dad completed triathlons, including an ironman, and everything else under the sun when she was growing up, but Bruna never considered herself to be either a competitive or recreational athlete.
Bruna first introduced running into her life in college, when, as she describes, she took it up just to burn off the “Freshman 15”! But once Bruna moved to New York City after college, the motivation started to slip away and get lost amidst the hustle and bustle of the Big Apple.
After a few years off, she just turned back to running during the downtime of the pandemic, as did many others. She recommitted to the gym a few months ago and became focused on weight lifting instead of cardio. One day she decided to hop on the treadmill and was surprised by how good it felt to run again and how easy it felt for the first time in a while. “I started looking forward to running everyday. I’ve never liked running outside because I was so scared of getting injured from a history of shin splints and knee issues, but it feels good to me on the treadmill. So I decided to start to increase my mileage on my own and then I decided to get a running coach.”
Finding her self-belief
“I genuinely believed that some people were not born as runners, and maybe that’s the case, but I just don’t think that I’m one of those people anymore.”
Prior to this past year, Bruna grew up believing that she just didn’t have the genes that made her an athletic person and that permeated into the way that she thought about running. “I thought I wasn’t athletic so I’d just do a couple miles here and a couple miles there because that’s all I thought I could manage. I dabbled in it over the years but never did enough to commit to it and I’ve never really pushed myself to do more. I didn’t like it because I wasn’t good at it, and because I wasn’t good at it, I didn’t like it, so it was a self-perpetuating cycle. It was just as much of a shock to me as anyone else that when I got on the treadmill a couple months ago that when I got on the treadmill, I actually enjoyed it. And that’s what led me to the point of not wanting to commit to a race because I don’t want to make it something that I have to do. I don’t want to pigeonhole myself into something that I feel like I have to train for and hit a certain time because I am enjoying it so much and I want to keep enjoying it. That’s my mentality behind it: I want to keep it open-ended and fun and exciting because it’s the first time in my life that I’ve ever actually enjoyed running.”
“I spent my whole life with this self-limiting belief that I can’t run and if I can, I’m really slow and I can’t do that many miles. It’s been nice to be like, ‘oh wait, yes I can.’ That to me is reason enough to continue doing it – to prove to myself that I can.”
As for her current goals, she wants to just keep going for as long as she can, as fast as she can until it’s not fun anymore. “The second that it becomes not enjoyable, that’s a red flag for me. Not that it’s super enjoyable every minute that I’m running but I always feel happy afterwards. My goal is to keep pushing it for as long as I can, for as far as I can, and that’s it.”
When asked what she hopes to tell others that are hoping to get into running or to finally consider themselves a runner she said, “Find something that works for you. A lot of people love running outside – that’s not for me and that’s okay. I like to run on the treadmill in the air conditioning while listening to Hamilton. There are just some things that work for people and some things that don’t. Find a way to run that works for you – whether you’re running alone or running with people, whether you’re running in the morning or running at night. I think what’s been key for me is just not to feel like I’ve been forced into something and overcommitting myself. If it starts out with just one day a week – that’s okay – as long as you enjoy that one day a week, and just start to build it up from there. Find what works, find what’s fun, find what feels good.”