Earth Hour was started in Sydney, Australia in 2007. SoCalRunning.com is supporting this new Global effort to lighten our carbon footprint. Tonight between 8 – 9 PM we are encouraged to power down our houses. That’s right, lights out. And after you do it, go outside and take a look at the sky.
I love living in So Cal except we are such a large expanse of land and people, and there are so many lights it is difficult to get a good look at all the stars in the sky. Tonight maybe the one night (hour) you can see more stars up there, stars you can only see once you leave the area.
What else can you do? Go to EarthHour.org and sign-up to support this action. You can replace your light bulbs with those new florescent bulbs, ride your bike instead of your car more often (who can afford gas now days). Run or walk to the market.
400 cities around the world have committed to participating tonight. I am committing to participate and if you are not around tonight, pick another night. You can make a difference.
Oh yeah, and tell friend to join us SoCalRunning.com ers in doing something that can make a difference for our children’s children. I can’t be just about us any more.
Carbon Footprint Focused, Steve Mackel, Concerned Global Citizen
Catalina Race Report Part 2
What does it take to train for the Catalina Marathon?
That’s the question that I have been trying to figure out now for three years.
And I think that I have found some answers.
Our first test was the Buffalo Run.
How did the Beach Runners do?
Pretty damn well. We walked away with 8 yes count them 8 podium spots.
Christy and I both took first in our age groups.
My race was certainly a BREAKTHROUGH PERFORMANCE. These do not come by very often. And you really got to train for these. A BREAKTHROUGH is when you jump to a higher performance level altogether. I’m not just talking a little improvement…but a huge jump in results.
I went from 51st overall in a tough as nails race to 12th overall. Pretty good.
The reason: well there were lots of them. Sure I was training with all the Beach Runners on the weekend but during the week I was doing HARD CORE INTERVAL training.
I cannot say enough about the importance of doing intervals. I have this killer video of Matt and I doing hill intervals together if I can ever get my imovie to export correctly!!!! Arghh!
So I’d do one hard interval workout a week with Matt. Then wild man Jake returned from India, and we’d do fast uphill tempo runs of 7-10 miles once a week.
And I’d run up to the top of Palos Verdes as fast as my body could. Working STRESS and RECOVERY principles over and over again.
I’d read the Josh Waitzkin book THE ART OF LEARNING for like the third time and I was hearing his words about I had to be willing to INVEST IN LOSS. Josh was the U.S junior chess champion who switched to TAI CHI and when on to win 9 national championships and 2 world championships even beating the Chinese! It is a must read book if you are interested in PEAK PERFORMANCE.
I had to be willing to get my ass kicked every time I could on a training run. And Matt did kick my ass finally on some hills one day.
Then when that race came all that hard work paid off big big time. There’s too much to write about what happened on that run. It was like time slowed down…I got into some strange feelings in my body that would sound way too weird to explain.
But those champion athletes out there know of what I speak…like new super powers you discover in the course of competition.
Post Buffalo Run
I was tired for like two weeks after that race. Way too long to be resting with Catalina on the way. This I have to blame on a drop in my nutrition habits…way too much coffee and sugar in this period and not enough greens.
It was like a complacency I have to be very careful about victories. Especially during the crazy winter race schedule I had planned out for myself.
Walt Disney World
This little side story must be told. A little more into my character…
So some time ago I began the process of learning to be a copywriter. That means I write advertising. Direct response long copy advertising in the mold of Claude Hopkins, Eugene Schwartz, and Gary Halbert.
Through my studies of this fascinating field a name came up…Jay Abraham. Jay is one of the foremost experts in the world in marketing…this is who Tony Robbins hired for this marketing.
And so what I found out is that Jay lived in Palos Verdes. In fact, his office off Hawthorne Blvd was a training ground for many a great copywriter…John Carlton, Brian Keith Volles, even Gary Halbert.
It was like I was destined to work there. Even more powerful was the visions I kept getting in my imagination on long trail runs up on those hills…visions of writing for Jay Abraham.
Why I kept getting these visions…I don’t know.
But like I’ll write about in my upcoming book, visions like this are very very powerful callings for our hero souls to embark on journeys. Journeys that our souls need to take to find our destinies.
Okay, I’m getting a little funky here. Let’s get back to the story.
So I walked into Jay Abraham’s office one day with some copy I had written including blog posts and emails that I send you folks. They tried me out…but ended up referring me to another brilliant marketer Rich Schefren whom I began writing press releases for.
So with like 10 days to go before the LA Marathon…Rich invites me out to his conference in Walt Disney World for the week to help out and learn more marketing stuff.
Which means I’d miss out on the most important run for my Catalina people…the five hour run! Argh!!!
There were deeper forces here at play than a long run. Deeper yearnings pulling at the ship of my soul…I could feel the winds picking up…I was restless at home…so I put up those sails and went.
I got to listen to John Carlton for a day and a half at his workshop. Priceless. Another writing idol of mine. Met a bunch of great copywriters such as Tony Flores, John Newtson, and Charlie Byrne.
And sat and listened to awesome marketing presentations. Met so many great people. Wrote press releases. Did video work. I was a player for a few days.
Meanwhile I was eating LIKE A KING. I’m a batchelor and quite literally can live off oatmeal, green juice, tofu, and broccoli for days…so to be at some swank Disney hotel with a view of the lake…with a balcony…eating fancy fancy spreads every meal was…well…I felt I had arrived.
I got like one run in during this time. Great run. Around Disney lake. Saw lots of cool birds like egats, ducks, and even hawks. But as you can imagine, all of this high life wasn’t so good for my Catalina training.
And my big goal was to win the American Trail Championship for my age group…the combined times of the Buffalo Run and Catalina Marathon. I got second last year with another BREAKTHROUGH PERFORMANCE of going sub four hours at the Catalina Marathon. So I need just to be a little faster…and with that kick ass Buffalo Run…I was primed for success.
Except for all this fine living I was now doing.
So I was supposed to leave on Wednesday morning…but Tuesday night Rich asks me whether I want to stay for another few days and help write a handbook for a special workshop he was doing with…no other than…that’s right you guessed it…
Weird. Way F*&%ing weird!
So you can guess what my answer was…
So I wrote the next few days for Jay Abraham and Rich Schefren. It didn’t go all that well for me. I wish I could have improved my performance there in many many ways. And had to cancel a couple of my classes…
But I did it. Some goal I had developed on the trails of Palos Verdes. Sitting here, writing this now gives me weird shivers up my spine.
And there I was in Walt Disney World…this vision coming true. Jay was a gentleman. Rich was just a firecracker of intellectual energy. I don’t think I had the full chops to hang in there with these marketing giants…but I tried with everything I had in me. It was as difficult as miles 6-10 of the Buffalo Run.
One thing that I’ve learned from marathon running is to just HANG IN THERE when you’re beat tired. I’m tough. I don’t get intimidated easily even with very smart guys like Rich and Jay.
It was like seeing 3:58 on the last turn to the finish line…you’re giving it all til you just can’t go anymore.
And another dream of mine came true. A BREAKTHROUGH for my new career. It just goes to show what you can accomplish when you go for the yearnings in your soul…make goals out of them…believe in yourself…then work your butt off.
The LA Marathon
So I got back on a Friday and ran the LA marathon on a Sunday. Why? Not sure. Always wanted to do both LA and Catalina in one year. And with the opportunity right there…well…you know the story.
I was slow. Which was good. How slow? I didn’t pass a Beach Runner until mile 8. Jake was going nuts. But I had a plan. Real complicated plan…go super slow.
That plan lasted until mile 13. Then I went a little faster. But I had a great time out there on the course that day. I coached sooooo many people I felt like Steve Mackel. At one point I ran into a seven eleven bought 10 cliff bars and was giving them out to hungry looking runners.
I ran the last mile in with Bernice. Who had trained with me up in Catalina…we came down to the finish stretch I was pumping the crowd up…yelling like crazy…and Bernice passed me with like 5 feet to go.
And I stood there watching hundreds of runners crossing that finish line…
Thinking of this wonderful world of dreams all these runners had…and how they put their sails up…how they crossed the rough seas…to make their soul yearnings come true…their sacrifices…
I saw hundreds upon hundreds cross that finish line and get a medal put around their neck.
I stood there dumbfounded by it all.
Cheering on Beach Runners coming across the finish line.
And out there, in Pacific, the the Island sat out waiting for the rest of the team…and me…just two weeks later…
“The Yoga Crew in the Beginning at Lululemon”
That’s right, the Spring Equinox was last week which opens the door to a yogic spring ritual of 108 Sun Salutations. Now we are going to do it over 2 Thursdays, 54 Sun Salutations (A series) each Thursday, at Lululemon in Pasadena starting at 6:30 PM.
I have probably done this ritual 6 times over the last 8 years and I usually have better years when I sweat out the year long junk and build up. From what I understand, and for me, it is spring cleaning for the body, mind and spirit. But why 108? I found a short description of the importance of the number 108 in Yoga Journal by Shiva Rea
“The number’s significance is open to interpretation. But 108 has long been considered a sacred number in Hinduism and yoga. Traditionally, malas, or garlands of prayer beads, come as a string of 108 beads (plus one for the “guru bead,” around which the other 108 beads turn like the planets around the sun). A mala is used for counting as you repeat a mantra—much like the Catholic rosary.
Renowned mathematicians of Vedic culture viewed 108 as a number of the wholeness of existence. This number also connects the Sun, Moon, and Earth: The average distance of the Sun and the Moon to Earth is 108 times their respective diameters. Such phenomena have given rise to many examples of ritual significance.
According to yogic tradition, there are 108 pithas, or sacred sites, throughout India. And there are also 108 Upanishads and 108 marma points, or sacred places of the body.”
Now is the time for your Spring cleaning and join me for two consecutive Thursdays, at 6:30 PM at Lululemon in Pasadena doing 54 Sun Salutations (A series) in 6 sets of 9 . Each set we will dedicate and meditate on different intentions. This practice will take about 1.5 hours each Thursday and be part of our Yoga for Runners series. Bring a towel!
I can’t say enough about this practice and how it can help your focus, strength and your ability to deal with a challenge. This is why it is perfect for runners.
Please join us Thursday, March 27, and Thursday, April 10 at Lululemon in Pasadena 6:30 PM
Important note: There will not be a Runner for Yoga class
Steve Mackel, ChiRunning® Instructor, Lululemon Pasadena Ambassador
Matt and Gary – Trail Running Gurus
On February 9th at the 12.5 mile mark of the Catalina 1/2 Marathon Buffalo Run, I started to wobble. Disoriented, I nearly passed out. Before any blackout, I held onto a white fence and slowly placed myself onto the ground. What happened? What was wrong? An ambulance came and picked me up. I was out of it, really thirsty, had low blood pressure, and could barely breathe. I was hooked up to a saline IV and rushed to the hospital. There I received two more bags and drank about a half gallon of water. The doctor said I was dehydrated. There I was in Catalina, a blogger of proper hydration when running long distances in the heat, hooked up to an IV. A truly humbling moment.
After I was released from the hospital I began to walk down the street. I traffic officer asked me why I was walking. I told him I was just released from the hospital. He knew who I was, one of two people sent to the hospital for dehydration. He told me the finish line was a half mile away. I saw a person running down the street. I realized that I could still finish this thing even though I’d been in the hospital for over an hour and a half. I jogged past the woman remembering it is a Beach Runner duty to pass someone. I jogged past the finish line. A woman gave me my lapel pin and said, “Now that is dedication…jogging through the finish line with IV bandages after you leave the hospital.” My time over 3:33. Of course many Beach Runners enjoyed teasing me about my collapse. I guess that is what one gets when taking on challenges and pushing oneself to the brink…or in this case surpassing the brink.
So why did I collapse? Simple answer is that my body said NO MORE. But why, I had pushed myself harder during the summer to prepare for the Long Beach Marathon. Why now, why Catalina’s Buffalo Half Marathon? I guess I’ll never know, but I do know what was going on in my life and I do know that all variables together may be the reasons. So what happened after my PR and first marathon at Long Beach? To Read The Rest Of This Article Click Here
Matt – Beach Runner Mentor and SoCalRunning.com Member
I wish that I had a cool video like Steve. But after a couple of years of flawless MacBook Pro performance, my computer is making strange looking videos.
I guess that I am writing this one.
My Catalina Marathon 2008 Story…
Setting Your Intention
It all started with an intention run I did back in October. About five runners showed up and we had a amazing trail run up in Palos Verdes above Ladera Linda school (I don’t think we went up Monkey Hill though).
I remember coming down some switchbacks and teaching how to run a downhill…sit in your core…relax your legs…let gravity take over…LET GO…and I remember standing there teaching and…
Everything seemed just right. Like this was my destiny. What I was supposed to do in this lifetime. Teach runners how to run on a trail.
Do you ever feel that way in your life?
This profound sense of connection to the Universe and Purpose?
We finished up the run with yoga on the cliffs overlooking the ocean. If you’ve ever joined me there you know what it is like…one of the most beautiful spots in all of Los Angeles to do a yoga session.
A place very special for Steve and I. A place that birthed our famous ChiRunning Yoga Retreats…which now that I think about it…we have not done for a while. More on that later also.
So we sat there and I directed everyone to tune into their intentions…listening to your heart.
A recent spiritual teacher had told me, “Gary you got the meditation thing down in your head…it’s time you began meditating with your heart”.
Now a heart meditation is a different matter altogether different than a mind meditation.
After years of on and off again Zazen (Zen Meditation) I can sit and quiet my mind. In fact, quieting my mind so that I can concentrate on my body and the train has been a reason for my good trail running lately.
So we all sat there…listening to our hearts…well I least I was.
And three visions came to me.
1.Of running like a warrior. Vision of myself going all out on the trails. Real tough running. At one with my body, breath, mind, the trail. All levels of peak performance.
2.Of improving my coaching. I tend to do number one above too much. So I saw myself slowing down on a Saturday, working with all levels of runners, coaching, guiding, demonstrating, inspiring…whatever it took to get people ready to run the Catalina Marathon.
3.Of contributing money to charity. To quit running for myself and begin running for a higher purpose. I’ve never done this…and hopefully this would be a good start.
So these three intentions I took with me into the Catalina Marathon Training season for 2008.
The other runners shared their visions…Anna said that she saw water running down the hills. A real sign of things to come.
This was to be “My Calling”…a powerful concept from my first book I am writing (another story).
Big changes were in order for Beach Runners.
Steve and I have always worked closely together on all our coaching projects: Beach Runners, ChiRunning workshops, and our websites.
We decided we would do something different, I like Long Beach…running along the beach…through Naples…to the Queen Mary has always been a real joy.
But I LOVE running the trails of Palos Verdes. It is my passion, my calling, where I feel most at home with the Universe right now.
And considering we were training people for the Catalina Marathon, I figured that why now just train up in Palos Verdes? Run hard core rediculous trails every week.
We’d have views of the ocean. Catalina Island. We’d see wild flowers. I’d be able to teach uphill and downhill techniques.
So with the hope of the most amazing mentors that’s what we did.
See one of the things I’ve realized in coming up with the ideas for this book is that you must have a team around you for success. Especially with a goal as difficult as running the Catalina Marathon.
I cannot say enough about the team members that made all of this happen…
Matt for taking charge days I wasn’t there and marking trails.
Jim for always being there with Accelerade and Water.
Janet for working with the ladies in the back.
John for keeping the middle of pack moving.
Keith for bringing us great ideas and motivating the faster runners.
LaTonya for working with our half marathoners.
I’ve never been in charge of a group of runners like this every week and this team was what made it happen…if you know anything about my organizational skills…you’d see how important all these people were.
Please look them up on http://socalrunning.ning.com/ and thank them.
But really every runner that showed up there made this thing happen.
We had about 20-30 runners on a given Saturday. And the training began.
Doing the Work
Our runs were simply amazing every Saturday.
Those that were there for them know of which I speak.
Hills became legendary. Monkey Hill beat up so many runner the first few weeks I had to schedule the course around it.
Like Anna predicted…the rains came.
We ran through inches of mud like little children beating if off our shoes with sticks and scrapers.
We ran up to the top of the Radio Towers (five miles of uphill!!!).
We ran to the top of Del Cerro and saw one of the best views in all of Los Angeles.
We got lost on trails. We realized that maybe getting lost every now and then is not such a bad thing.
While not everyone stayed with us during the training…the majority did.
It was exciting…we had two training groups…one in Long Beach…and now one in Palos Verdes.
Training for the big races to come….
Part 2 is about the last 6 miles, the finish line, the awards, runner reviews, the after party and a special guest.
I hope to run with you too. Say hello, tell me you saw this I’ll try to get you in my next movie.
Watch Focused, Steve Mackel – Catalina Marathon Videographer
I still have no clue if it will be a two or three part Runumentry. I just wanted to get something up ASAP. The sub-plot is about a first time marathoner and Beach Runners, Christy, running this fantastic marathon. She is also running to win the American Trail Championship, in her Age Group, which is the lowest combined time of the Catalina Buffalo Run half marathon and the Catalina marathon.
I met some great people and some footage I had hoped would make the movie wound up MIA. If that was you, I am very sorry. This movie provides a great look at the course, the wonderfully kind participants, volunteers and staff.
Watch Focused, Steve Mackel – Catalina Marathon Videographer
Getting Race Ready? Watch This – Gary gives you a high tech RunCast on running the Catalina Marathon, nutritionizing your body, and how to not talk to cats???
Windows Users click here to see video if you have a problem
Race Focused, Steve Mackel, Beach Runner’s Head Coach
A Runumentry – 2007 Catalina Marathon by Steve
This is a fun movie and gives you and idea of what some of the course is like. It is best viewed with QuickTime. Click the screen to view the movie. You can download QuickTime for free, click here to download QuickTime
If nothing is working and you can’t see the video click here as a last resort and if that doesn’t work, please email me
If you know Gary and I you know we don’t take too much all that seriously. We pulled this article off a great new health awareness site, newPrimetime.com When you read below you learn another secret of our running success. Laugh while you run.
Steve and SoCalRunning.com Member Pete, Laugh It Up
Growing up, the Readers’ Digest was a common publication in our house. I remember reading the “Laughter” section religiously. It did always get a smile or a chuckle out of me. So, 40 years later, there has been more discussion and study about the good health impacts of “laughter”….the health of the things we do for fun, happiness, joy, and laughter. I am not sure when Readers’ Digest added this most popular feature of the magazine, but it is not an old concept. I found another article by the same title published in 1908 in The Washington Post.
So, for a concept that has we have been talking about for a century, why does it seem that we don’t take this “funny” health source seriously. Well, please read on and consider adding a dose to your daily routine. With all of this history, and a bit more recent scientific evidence, we felt compelled to give some airtime to “fun” as our seventh key to life-long health. TO READ MORE CLICK HERE
Laugh Focused – Steve Mackel, CHt