Of Faith, Non-Attachment and Racing

He who perceives Me everywhere and beholds everything in Me, never loses sight of Me, nor do I lose sight in him BG VI:30

Sound like Mother Teresa who said, “I see God in every human being. When I wash the leper’s wounds, I feel I am nursing the Lord himself. Is it not a beautiful experience?”

Today and the last week I have been focusing on the principle of non-attachment. It has just jumped out and grabbed me by the ankles or throat depending on how I look at it.

Days away from another birthday or one more year’s experience, I would think I could do better. At least, I am working on it but let me tell you, this non-attachment stuff is a bitch.

I know what you are thinking, what are you so attached too Steve? A bunch of stuff without getting too personal is my answer. Chocolate ice-cream could start the list and that’s not even the tip of the iceberg.

I find myself thinking I need an answer. Answers are nice and in my logic I tell myself that they can help me become a better person, yet do I really need to know? Can I go with my feelings and/or move on, My heart knows what to do? Why not just do it?

So, I write about non-attachment because out of the blue a coach I deeply respect, Rich Strauss, posted an article on his blog about “detachment” from race results. Rich seems to me to be more of the science coach than a coach who whips out yogic principles. He knows how to use scientific data yet when race day comes around even Rich talks about, “Detaching yourself from the end result.” From this point on in his blog article, he talks about using detachment to help set up successful splits, and how to be smart in doing it. I guess I didn’t expect to read it from the science guy but he knows.

Your best races (days in life) are the time you are completely to detached from the results and focus on the journey or moment.

My coach, Steve Ilg and his Wholistic Fitness® training has me emptying before a race and out on the course. I am constantly letting go of any momentary thought, feeling and/or emotion that can hold me back. And if I am able to this, I always race strong. This is the art of non-attached racing.

If I can do it in a race, I know I can do it in life. Quite often you’ll here me say that endurance training is a fantastic metaphor for life. I guess I am just reminding myself of this tonight, when I find myself struggling, and thought I’d share it with you.

As for the top quote, I took this picture to be reminded that my most inspirational heroes see God in everything. It is not a particular religion, its people with unwavering faith of all religions. I appreciated being reminded of that too.

Any or all of this can start with training focused. Find ways to remind yourself daily.

Steve Mackel, CHt

Steve’s Birthday Duathlon – Trail Running and High Performance Yoga®

What a Difference a Year Makes

Here I go moving up to a new AG (Age Group) you’ll have to guess which one next Sunday.

Gary and I are hosting our 2nd annual Trail Running and High Performance Yoga® Duathlon. This one just happens to be on my birthday, Sunday, April 29.

Here’s the deal: We meet at Travel Town in Griffith Park at 10:00 A.M. We run/hike/have fun for 1 hour and a half hours, then eat quickly and head over to Studio City for a talk on Pranayama followed by a HPY class taught by my coach, Steve Ilg.

For more info Click Here

Want to run better? Learn about Pranayama – breathing exercises to strengthen your life force.

Want to see where I found Power Yoga then showed it to Gary? Then you got to take Coach Ilg’s class

Want to read about last year’s Trail Run/HPY Duathlon Click Here

Train Focused, Steve Mackel – Beach Runners Head Coach

The Wednesday Night Brick Is Back and Going All Summer Long

The Wednesday Night Brick is back and I will begin to lead the Brick workout for the fourth consecutive season. The Brick usually consists of riding a bike for one hour followed by running one lap around the Rose Bowl. You can always do more if you need too.

We meet in the Rose Bowl Aquatic Center parking lot, in Pasadena, around 5:45 PM and hit the road just after 6:00 PM. The run usually starts around 7:10 PM.
One lap around the Rose Bowl is 3 miles. Typically we finish between 8:00 – 8:30 PM. Usually some of us head out for some much needed refueling and hydration at a local restaurant afterwards. The Brick is appropriate for every level of athlete and newbies are encouraged to attend. Last year, we averaged just around 20 participants weekly and we had as many as 40.

When I started this workout, my primary goal, was to create a fun, informative workout for every level of athlete. This workout is open to anyone. You can do the entire workout or just do the ride, run or yoga sections. It is your choice. The important thing is that you come with a friendly, fun attitude.

Now for some rules: Safety First in everything we do. Remember the rules of the road. No helmet, no ride, no exceptions. You are responsible for your own equipment. You will probably want to lock your bike up while we run, either in a car or to something. If you think someone needs some help ask them.

Here are the next two Wednesday Brick workout plans:

April 25, Yoga Begins – Ride One hour, two laps at 14 and 15 mph then ride to the top of Lida for anyone who wants to come. Faster riders to the top should go back down and ride up with some of the slower riders. Starting this Wed. I will be offering yoga as an alternative for running. It will last about 40 minutes and a mat is not necessary, we will be on the grass. Towels worked too. I am doing this for two reasons. I need to do more yoga and I already run 20+ miles a week. The running will still take place as usual, one lap around the Rose Bowl.

May 2, Transition Workout – I will give a quick talk for anyone interested in transition tips. We will set up a transition area and practice T2 by riding one lap around the RB then run mile and repeat 2 – 4 times. This is a shorter (about 1.25 hours) workout since WF is that weekend.

I look forward to another successful year. If you have any questions, please Email Me

Of Earth Weekend and Bike Rides

I Live All My Life on Planet Earth – Devo

What are you doing this weekend? Let’s just call Earth Weekend. I wish we all cared about this planet a little more. Heck, if we did we might even be nicer to each other along the way. I would say I have always been earth friendly yet my awareness went up one day when my coach, Steve Ilg, was giving me my next training program. One of his exercises was to have me pick up a piece of trash daily. I have tried to keep this ritual going for the past three years. Of course, I miss some days yet this blessing has literally opened my eyes to the “mess” we are creating.

I don’t want it to sound noble because as Coach Ilg reminds us, our Mother deserves better, Mother Earth. I am just respecting my mother, no different than at home with my birth mother. I love you mom.

My eyes were opened again Thursday on a ride with SoCalRunning.com member Alison. We just finished a long steep climb when we stopped for a water break. I dropped my water bottle and it started rolling across the road. It ended up in a small ditch. When I reached down to pick it up I noticed a cigarette butt next to it in the dirt. I knew I needed to pick it up. How many lifetimes was going to take for that ugly little thing to disintegrate? Yuck! I hesitated, I’ll find a bigger piece trash somewhere else today and all will be cool I thought. I hesitated some more yet I knew I had no choice. I picked it up and stuffed it in my jersey pocket.

Riding Clean-up

Today, I rode with SoCalRunning.com member Colin and while I was waiting for him I peeled a banana. Yummy. I happened to stop by a trashcan so I opened the bear proof door and threw it in. Just as I did I looked down and what was there? All sorts of stupid trash. Stuff like tar paper, bottle caps, tissue and more. Today I would have to get it all. It is Earth Weekend after all. I even found half of some energy bar in its wrapper later in the ride on a 5 mile climb. I rode past it, then turned around and did my karmic duty. At one point in the ride I was so hungry I almost thought about eating it, just kidding.

66 miles – 4 hours later I feel great. Join Coach Ilg and myself and show your Mother a little love this weekend. Happy Mother’s Weekend.

Train Focused, Steve Mackel – USA Triathlon Coach

Live your life to the fullest!

Top of San Jacinto!

First beach runners mountain of the season.
While events in the country make us reflect on the meaning of life…

To me it means get out into nature with good friends

Catalina Marathon finishers and Beach Runners Sandy and Sindy…

Notice the three inches of snow that dumped on us Sunday morning.

Sandy and Sindy are scheduled to do the ultramarathon in Big Bear in June.

Who else is in?


I’m Back and Still on the Bike

Chad Davidson, New SoCalRunning.com Member with Team Steelballs Makes the Podium in AG Downhill

I’m back from an awesome cycling trip in Monterey, CA, the Sea Otter bike festival. Friday, I had a tough day on my road bike race, as my bike tried to throw me with severe speed wobbles at 38 mph. The last thing I need is to crash three weeks before Wildflower. Somehow I kept both tires on the pavement. So I rode back to the campsite and hopped on my mountain bike. I previewed the course I would race first thing the next morning, great country.

Saturday was my 19-mile cross country MTB race. The entire race schedule was not the best organized. The actual start time of my Saturday race was not announced until 30 minutes before the race. They just said get there at 7:30 AM and wait. I decided to guess when it would start and missed by 40 seconds. I had to fight through the next wave to start 40 seconds late. I worked my way through the back of the pack on some early short, steep climbs then we hit the fire road. These guys were fast downhill. I was getting passed until we hit the single track. With over 700 people on the course at this point, the downhill single track came to a stand still. Once we made it down to the bottom of the first valley we had a steep climb back up to the next ridge. It was still packed. We were wheel to wheel and going slow with nowhere to go. I used it for rest knowing that this course had 6,500 feet of total climbing, most at the end.

It finally broke up a little and when the track was wide enough you tried to pass. Beautiful scenery and California backcountry. The course has a long uphill climb before the downhill finish. I locked out my suspension and hammered it uphill. I didn’t get passed until the final downhill, where I almost crashed into a tree. I got back on the bike and rode in.

It was my first x-country MTB race and it was great. I need to work on my downhill confidence yet overall I felt like I raced well. I still have to wait for the results to be posted but my time was around 2:00. Mountain biking is great for your trail running skills and if you can be out in nature, why not?

Got Dirt? Train Focused, Steve Mackel – USA Cycling Coach

Upcoming Events and News

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Upcoming Events and News

The courage of two separate individuals is nothing compared with that of a united team – Napolean Hill


The time has come and things are really heating up. Steve and Gary have a lot of great opportunities to practice, learn, improve and strengthen your running.

ChiRunning® Trail Running and Yoga Retreats:

Last Chance to join us for this Spring Break retreat, tomorrow, this Saturday, April 7. We still have spaces available. If you email Steve or call Steve at 818.414.9181 you can pay at the retreat.

Saturday, May 12 retreat is almost sold out, don’t wait. For more info Click Here

Beach Runners Marathon and Half Marathon Training Program:

Starting Saturday, May 19. The Beach Runners feature the MaraYoga Training System using the ChiRunning® techniques. Now in their third year this innovative training system will get you across the finish safely, fun and fast. Perfect for all levels. Registration is open now.Click Here to Register Look for the Kick-Off Parties TBA soon!

Power Yoga with Gary Smith:

The name says it all. This challenging yoga class is a great training for athletes of all levels. Come explore your breath and postures with us. Click Here to Read More

Northern California Yoga ChiRunning®/ChiWalking® Retreat:

Coach Steve Mackel and SoCalRunning.com member Shelli Stein. Shelli is a certified yoga teacher and ChiRunning® instructor. Nestled in beautiful Marin County outside San Francisco, the Santa Sabina Retreat Center offers a beautiful setting in which to learn and study Yoga and ChiRunning®/ChiWalking ®. This retreat, starting the evening of Friday, June 29 and ending Sunday afternoon, July 1, provides lodging and wonderful meals for participants. With options for commuters, Steve and Shelli will personally guide you through this wonderful weekend experience. For More Info Click Here

Steve’s Birthday Trail Running/Yoga Duathlon:

Sunday, April 29, Steve and Gary head back to Griffith Park for a two hour trail run followed by a special High Performance Yoga pranayama lecture and class taught by Steve’s personal coach, Steve Ilg. Click Here to See Coach Ilg’s Flyer We will announce a Griffith Park meeting time shortly, somewhere between 10 – 11 A.M. and where. Look for the updates

Celebrate with Steve and Gary this Saturday night at the Mai Tai Bar in Long Beach:

Saturday April 7, at 8 P.M. join Steve and Gary as we welcome in spring. The Mai Tai Bar is located at 97 Aquarium Way in the Pike at Rainbow Harbor, Long Beach. Don’t think all we do is run, we have a lot of fun too.





Do an UltraMarathon with Gary


Calling out all runners looking for a new challenge in their running.

Train with Gary to complete an Ultramarathon.

An Ultra Marathon? You gotta be kidding me!

Actually no. I did an ultramarathon last December, and I can tell you it’s not that hard.

You just need to train for it. You need to do the work. You need to prepare physically, mentally, and spiritually.

I’ve done it. Now think about it. Most of you have run 26 miles. And the Catalina Marathon warriors ran some of the toughest 26 in any race in the world.

I’m proposing you only run 7 miles more. 33 miles total. In Big Bear California. With a lot of the run on the Pacific Coast Trail.

And if that is too much there is a 15 mile trail run that day which will be perfect training for the Beach Runners.

Over the next week I will be putting up a training schedule.

Hopefully you can join me for many of the runs.

1. Wild West Marathon / UltraMarathon
3M, 10M, Marathon, UltraMarathon
Saturday May 5th, 2007

The third oldest trail marathon in the United States after Catalina and Pikes Peak.
Run with the snow covered sierra mountains in the background.

I will be camping and making a weekend out of this trip.


I am undecided if I will run the marathon or ultra this day.
It will be close to race day decision.

2. Holcomb Valley Ultramarathon, Big Bear CA
Sunday June 10th
33 Miles

I figure this will the perfect first ultramarathon for the Beach Runners as it is close to Los Angeles, scenic, and beautiful.


So let me know if you are interested in doing any of these two runs or training with me.

If want to train with me, do yoga classes after runs, get personalized coaching etc, I will be asking for donations to a new scholarship fund that I am starting for Cambodian university students. More details on that to come, but this is a vision I had that needs to be turned into reality.

So if you’re interested please…

email me garyATsocalrunning.com (replace the AT with @ when you email me)

Training Run Announcement

My first training run will be…

Sunday April 8th
7 A.M.
Three Hour Easy Trail Run
Meet at Trump National Course in Palos Verdes
Bring yoga mats.

Important ChiRunning Information

We have just two days to enroll in our first ChiRunning Workshop/retreat of the year.

It is on Saturday April 7th in beautiful Palos Verdes.

Click here for more details. It’s simply the best thing you can do to improve your running.