Free – “Yoga for Runners” at Lululemon in Pasadena

yoga w steve
Steve Leads a Group of Runners Through a Yoga Class

Tonight and most Thursdays at 6:30 PM at the Lululemon store in Old Town Pasadena, Yoga for Runners. The store address is, 110 W. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena, CA 91105 and it is FREE!We practice our yoga on the back patio. Two weeks ago it was packed. We had a lot of runners. It was very warm that night but it may not be that warm tonight. Please dress in warm clothes that you can move freely in. Lululemon sells really cool yoga clothes too.

My goal is to follow in my coach, Steve Ilg’s footprints, “strength before flexibility.” The class is challenging yet great for new yogis (beginners). We practice mostly basic postures. You don’t have to be a pretzel person or super flexible to gain the benefits of Yoga for Runners. You will gain flexibility, strength and a better body/mind connection if you continue to practice yoga. That’s why Gary and I preach yoga as one of the best cross-training workout for all athletes. It also makes us more aware ChiRunners.

Train Focused and Namaste, Steve Mackel – Yogi 

The Beach Runners – The Best of Both Worlds

gary in PV.jpg

Gary and Tom on a Beautiful PV Trail Last Saturday

Last two weeks to join the Beach Runners, Saturday, December 1 and Saturday, December 8, to get the full benefits of proper training, to complete a full or half marathon.

But why the Beach Runners?

You get the best of both worlds, trails and roads every week, that’s why. Who else trains you for every kind of race? The Beach Runners are unlike the other training programs because of what we offer.

As much as I want to give to each of our runners, I really want them to find their own appreciation of taking responsibility for their fitness/health. Many of us find it in running and I can always find it on the trails. There is so much Chi right here in beautiful So Cal. All you have to do is look and find what seeks you out. Palos Verdes found Gary, myself and many Beach Runners.

Please feel free to check us out on a Saturday morning in Long Beach or Palos Verdes at 7 AM.

I’ll be training in Long Beach this Saturday. For more info click here or email me your questions.

Train Focused, Steve Mackel – Beach Runners’ Head Coach

Rebel Runners Long Beach Marathon Race Report

Long Beach Marathon, 10/14/2007: And so ended another chapter in the epic history of the Beach Runners, associated with, aka “SoCal’s Funnest Running Group.” So many Beach Runners (“BRs”), so many stories, so many outstanding experiences, and so many personal records (“PRs”).This report is not about PRs, and not about typical BRs. We are the Rebel Runners (or “RRs”).

To assist in this story, here are a couple of RR concepts—or really, fictional characters—who played a big part in RR amusement during our training season.There are “Bad Idea Bears,” derived from the Broadway musical “Avenue Q.”Bad ideas for training are, for example, going out drinking the night before a long Saturday run, missing scheduled runs, or focusing on things like weddings instead of form while running.Bad ideas sound, well, bad.But Bad Idea Bears sound really cute, cuddly, and socially acceptable.That’s why the RRs like the term Bad Idea Bear.


Bad Idea Bears—Aren’t they cute?

And (surprise!) there is the “Good Idea Bear.” Avenue Q doesn’t feature such a creature. After all, Avenue Q is a comedy, and good ideas are not nearly as funny as bad ideas. So the RRs just made this bear up.

The RRs stuck together throughout the training season, sometimes rebelling from the BRs. Like when we decided to make up our own RR course on Saturdays. I guess that course was a Bad Idea Bear, in the sense that we didn’t get to meet as many BRs as we might have. But it kept us particularly motivated to run (especially seeing the numerous jellyfish floating in the Marina Pacifica residential area). So, on the whole, the RRs thought that course was a Good Idea Bear. (See “A Different Sort of Run Report,” posted earlier on

The RRs also had a lot of distractions this season. Especially weddings. Lani got married to John (not me, but some other guy named John) in August. Kristin will marry Wade in February 2008, and Mina and Doug marry each other in May 2008. I can say from personal experience (married to Laura—not BR Laura, but another gal named Laura) that getting married is definitely a Good Idea Bear. But wedding planning is certainly a Bad Idea Bear when concurrent with marathon training. Especially for the women. I can’t say how many times the female RRs started going too fast in training while talking excitedly about wedding planning.Thus, the RRs did not feel particularly prepared for the LB marathon. Thus, we set our race goals as: (1) finishing, and (2) no barfing. We thought pacing ourselves at a 11:00/mile pace would do that trick. (And, that’s one great sign of an RR. Coach Gary complains that he “bonked” when he was running 10:00/min miles. RRs, in contrast, think it’s better to run “bonked” for the whole marathon.)Shortly after we started, some of the RRs soon started rebelling from the RRs.After about 4 miles, BR Jim (aka Uncle Sam) passed us up with a group of other BRs who were doing about 10:30s. Right at that point RRs Mina and Doug decided to take off with them, leaving the other RRs behind. For awhile, we kept the rebelling RRs in sight, but around mile 14 they were nowhere to be found. Also, around this time, RR Randy fell back a bit.


Kristin, you’re too slow. Mina and I are going to speed up!” “Okay Doug, but remember—NO BARFING!”

Thus, RRs Kristin, Lani and me were alone when we approached Studebaker Road, around mile 18. Ugh. That part of the race is the bleakest, ugliest, and (with the bridge over 7th Street) the hilliest section. The RRs were dreading this part of the course the most. I guess the advance dreading was definitely a Bad Idea Bear, because that’s where we started bonking and walking. (I’m sure Coach Gary would’ve advised us that we should’ve been chanting “Studebaker Road is our friend.”)

The week before the race, Lani had a Good Idea Bear regarding this part of the course: tell a story to help keep our minds off the dreariest part of the race. So Kristin came up with hers, about the time she ran the Honolulu Marathon under trying circumstances. I told my story about how I shouldn’t be running marathons post-knee surgery and post-orthodics, but ChiRunning® keeps me going.Then, Lani decided story-telling was a Bad Idea Bear and she refused to tell hers. That was an admirable rebel trick for an RR.

As we passed to the north of LB State, I was looking for some inspiration to get through the run. I then spotted people passing out FREE BEER!! How ironic: much earlier in the run I was telling the RRs that it would be a Good Idea Bear if on one of my training runs, I filled one of my Fuel Belt® bottles with beer. I could then swill it down after, say, 3 hours, and see how my body responded. That way, I’d know if I could drink a beer during an actual marathon.So, here was my chance to test the theory, but during the run instead. I knew what Coaches Steve and Gary would say: if you haven’t tried something in training, then DON’T DO IT DURING THE RUN!!! Thus, the thought of drinking beer now was definitely a Bad Idea Bear.Since I am an RR, I had to drink some. Mmmm, beer….Meanwhile, Mina and Doug’s decision to run ahead of the other RRs was definitely a Good Idea Bear—they

finished ahead of us.


“Mina, I don’t believe in ‘ladies first,’ okay?” “Aw, Doug, you’re so romantic.”

I know what the BR coaches are thinking right now: Mina and Doug’s decision to do all that trail running for the March 2007 Catalina Marathon and the September 2007 Mount Baldy run paid off for them; that’s why they ran faster. Sorry guys. The official RR position is that trail running is a Bad Idea Bear. There’s a possible exception when the RRs need beautiful scenery in the mountains for purposes of getting engaged, which is what Mina and Doug did in March.At around mile 22, I felt like I had more energy than my RR buddies, and I sped along. I walked through the rest of the water stations, but otherwise kept up the pace, and I actually ran the last mile in about 9 minutes. (I’m guessing, because I had another Bad Idea Bear that day: I forgot my Garmin.) am certain that I finished ahead of Lani and Kristin because of the Good Idea Beer.


“Woo, a strong finish—must be the beer!”

After the run, I headed off to the BR tent where BR helper Laura was greeting a whole lot of BRs, along with my next-door-neighbor Suzanne, and Lani’s sister Maile. Laura was waiting with a lot of peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwiches for me to scarf down. So I achieved my goals: finishing, and no barfing. All of the other RRs finished also. But I’m not so sure about the barfing.

John Siqueiros – Beach Runner and Rebel Runner

Cross Training – Post T-Day Long Ride

The “A” Group Poses for a Picture at the Anaheim Amtrak Station

Another Andyland event, the annual post Thanksgiving Day ride from Anaheim to Solana Beach. The ride was 82 inspired miles.

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I heard someone say there were 38 of us by the time we made it down to Solana Beach. Some people started at the Anaheim Station. There was a “B” group. People started at other stops along the way. Saturday was one of the most beautiful days of the year. It was perfect riding/running weather.

Our Ride Included a Ferry Boat Crossing in Balboa

I recommend that runners ride bicycles. Why?

Because you can work your body in many similar ways with less impact. Your cadences on your bike and running can be very similar teaching you quick turnover when you run. Cycling is a fantastic cardio-respiratory workout. And, I always schedule cross training weekly into every training program I coach. It forces your body to adapt differently and can help alleviate burnout.

Saturday’s top performance went to Reese. She pulled the boys for miles on end and dropped me in Camp Pendleton. By the end of the ride, I was hanging on for dear life. Thanks to Tri Centric Training coach Brandon Heflin for giving me a wheel when I needed it most.

Cycling groups also build fun friendships. Thank you Andy. Let me know if you ever want to join us. Another great Thanksgiving Day training weekend, time to watch some pro football.

Ride Focused, Steve Mackel – USA Cycling Coach

TDay Ride
Andy, Reese and Bruce Enjoying a Train Ride Home

San Gorgonio Hike

(Gary, Anna, and Brandon on the top of San Gorgonio. And
yes it was cold…36F at 11900 feet.)

Just the littlest efforts turn into major accomplishments. This has been my theme lately. Just start. Pick a goal and go for it. What’s the worst thing that can happen when you try?

Like going to the top of San Gorgonio. I did a little blog post the other day proposing a hike to the top of Southern California’s highest summit. I didn’t get too many takers. Maybe the 14-15 miles part of the description intimidated a few people. Okay. Let the truth be told…I’m a sandbagger. Sometimes…every now and then…I say hikes/runs/yoga classes will be easy…when they’re not.

It’s good for you to try these difficult endeavors. And you put so many limitations on your mind sometimes that prevent you from even trying.justtry.jpg

So Anna and Brandon signed up. They both are experienced marathoners so I figure they’d do great up the mountain.

While most of LA was heading to the stores to shop on Black Friday, after a late start (another story), we drove up to the Ranger Station to get a permit. The fact was the hike, Vivian Creek Trail, was 8.6 miles one way! All uphill. It was going to be long day!

San Gorgonio Base Camp

The first two miles were steep! I began ChiRunning up the mountain and was promptly told to slow down by my hiking partners. Thanks Anna for the reminder to enjoy the journey.

The hike was demanding. I will not sandbag my report. The altitude. The never ending switch backs. The many false summits. About 4/5 up the mountain, Brandon and I started dragging. We were still moving, one foot in front of the other. Deep breaths. But the idea of ChiRunning had stopped about 2000 feet lower for me. Then Anna yelled something motivational which I can’t even remember and it wasn’t too motivational for me but for her. And she took off.

Left us. We couldn’t barely even see her. Okay she can run a marathon in under four hours but where did she get this mountaineering strength from? Well, one thing about long hikes with people is find out things about them. Interesting Anna Fact 1: in college, she leg pressed 450 pounds!!!! 450!!!! She emphatically told me it was “just leg pressing not a squat”, but still…you gotta be kidding me.

Brandon, I found out as we were both sucking air at about 11000 feet, has already run four marathons this year. And was doing this hike a week before the Las Vegas Marathon. Ambitious considering this was his first major mountain he’s climbed.

(The final push to the summit)

I finally caught my second wind (actually more like my fourth) and caught up to Anna. We came up to the summit together, signed our names in, and marveled at the views…Lake Arrowhead, the desert, magnificent San Jacinto, miles and miles of pine trees. Brandon warriored on joined us shortly. We ate lunch huddled in the rocks as it was 36 F up there! I thought my nose was going to fall off from the cold wind.

The summit is at 11900 feet. The highest point in Southern California.

Then we came down the mountain. Half hiking. Half ChiRunning. Finished the hike in the dark to an almost full moon.

This hike was demanding and long. But worth every step of the way. It’s a must do for Southern California hikers. And its only about 1.5 hour drive to Redlands from Long Beach.

Needless to say. We were all injury free. Tired when we got back to the car, but feeling very proud at our efforts.

I want to thank you both for the fine company that day. I could not have asked for better hiking companions. You are both strong warriors who know that you must keep on going to accomplish these athletic endeavors. Thanks for giving this mountain a try. And pulling it off!gorgoniogary.jpg


More Podium Spots for ChiRunners

Steve, Christy and Bruce finished on the podium in the Run for the Hungry 5k

Today was Bruce’s day. He PR’d with a 19:44. It is always cool when you get faster as you get older. We always run this race as compeitiors and he finished 3rd in his AG (Age Group). We are the same age, born in the same year. This year I moved up in AG because his birthday is in December. We both won podium sopots in different AGs. Next year we will be competing against each other again. He beat me today with a stellar performance. He’s also in a tougher AG. Maybe I’ll get him next year.

I finished 44th overall and came in 2nd place in my AG (Age Group)

Keeping with Coach Ilg’s “Earn Your Bird” Thanksgivings day workout tradition, we woke up early and raced. ChiRunner/Beach Runner, Christy also found a podium spot with her first ever 3rd place finish. I finished 2nd in the older men’s group with a 20:22. It was a beautiful day with lots of great people. We gave cans of food for the local food bank and the race raised money for the La Canada/Flintridge Community Center. Put a Turkey Trot on your calendar next year or make it an annual event.

Another mission accomplished. Race Focused, Steve Mackel – ChiRunning Instructor

A Family Affair

Turkey Trots – A Great Way to Start Off Your Thanksgiving

Steve, Conner, Emily, Colin and Micki at Last Year’s Run for the Hungry

Earn Your Bird this Thanksgiving and enter a local Turkey Trot. I’ll be running with Colin, his family, my friends, Beach Runners and Pasadena Tri Club members, Thanksgiving Day, in La Canada, at the Run for the Hungry 5k. Links to the more popular Turkey Trots around So Cal are below.

Run for the Hungry 5k in La Canada
Dana Point Turkey Trot 5k/10k
Long Beach Turkey Trot 5k/10k
City of Torrance Turkey Trott 3-mile Fun Run

Race Focused, Steve Mackel – Turkey Trot Enthusiast

MarathonTraining.TV – “Beginning The Program” RunCall


MarathonTraining.TV Coaches Steve Mackel and Gary Smith discuss “Beginning The Program”, the first few weeks of your marathon and half marathon training program. It is part of a weekly series to help members through thier next race. Tonight’s RunCall is a special event open to all Members

EVENT: MarathonTraining.TV – “Beginning the Program” RunCall
HOSTS: Coach Steve Mackel and Gary Smith
DATE AND TIME: Monday, Nov. 19, at 5:00 PM PST
FORMAT: Simulcast! (Attend via Phone or Webcast — it’s your choice)

Listen Focused, Steve Mackel, Certified ChiRunning/ChiWalking® Instructor

Post Thanksgiving Hike


I’m hiking up San Gorgonio on Friday Nov 23 after Thanksgiving.

This will complete the big three in Southern California this year
for me…Baldy, San Jacinto, and now I just need Gorgonio.

Gorgonio is the tallest mountain in Southern California.

My dream in life is to have a mountain in my backyard.
And here is one! Just waiting for me to see his beauty.

Gorgonio was my introduction to mountaineering about nine years
ago. I do remember the tall trees and the awesome views
from the top. There is nothing, I repeat nothing like climbing
a mountain to refresh your spirits.
But after running marathons, I think that a marathon is more
difficult. So don’t be intimidated. You can do it.

Initial plans:

Early hiking start 8:00 a.m
Vivian Creek Trail
14-15 miles roundtrip
More details to come.

Should take all day and will work off all your Thanksgiving
dinner calories.
If you’re interested call me at 310 508 7133. I’d love some
hiking company.
Or contact me on my email at


RunCast5-Catalina Marathon

So I finally finished the Catalina Marathon. Catalina is an island located about 20 miles from Los Angeles. One major goal of the year accomplished already. Fantastic.

This is one of the hardest marathons in the United States with approx. 18 of the 26.2 miles are uphill. I loved every moment of it. The views, the people, the weather.

Spending three months of running trails to prepare really paid off.






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