Please Take the Beach Runner Survey

Dear Beach Runners,

If you have not done so…please take our survey.

It only takes 10 minutes and will help Steve and I design a better marathon training program.

————–>>>>>>>>>> Take our Survey (Click Here) <<<<<<<<<<—————-

Thankyou soooo much

Join My Birthday Workout – Tuesday, April 29

Steve Mackel Yoga
Come Practice Yoga and Run With Me on My Birthday Tuesday night

Ok, I am turning 46 Tuesday, April 29 and I figured what could be a better way than to celebrate with a workout included. The running and biking may be canceled due to the air quality because of the Chantry Flats fire. If so we can talk and start yoga a little earlier. Worst case show up for a beer after 8 PM.

Here’s the schedule: Meet at Lululemon Pasadena
6:30 PM Run or bike
7:15 PM Return to Lululemon Pasadena
7:20 PM Yoga for Runners
8:00 PM Finish and head off to Crown City Brewery
8:15 PM Drink a few beers with friends

Show up for some or show up for all of it. No gifts please.

Train Focused, Steve Mackel “Yoga for Runners” teacher

Annual Spring Trail Running and Yoga Duathlon

Ilg Hp Yoga Group
Coach Ilg (center) with the Die Hards

Those of you that heard or thought of joining us on the Annual Trail Running and Yoga Duath

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lon should have done it. Only 4 SoCalRunning.com members joined me. Basically, I was giving a free, private ChiRunning®/Trail Running lesson to Christy and Duncan. We really enjoyed trail running in Griffith Park. Roberto and Karen joined us in a yoga class taught by my coach, Steve Ilg in Studio City.

Coach Ilg moved to Flagstaff, AZ about two and half years ago. Every once in a great while he comes back to LA to catch up. He’ll usually teach a yoga class somewhere in town and I never miss it.

This class I realized how much I miss having my coach in my home town. My practice seems to be going well, until I take Coach Ilg’s class. Suddenly I am reminded just how easy it is to slip. Coach ilg’s class is a cut above. You start out finding yourself sitting quietly, with a straight spine, legs crossed, while your hip and legs muscles scream, “Where has Coach been and what have I been doing, it shouldn’t be this difficult,” I think to myself. Then we get into the meat of the class and my “well trained” muscles are telling me child’s pose is a needed option. I want to keep up with Coach yet I can’t, so I rest then begin again. By the end of class my body feels like an empty shell and I am light as a feather. What a great feeling.

The next day he posts the story of his day in LA on his blog WholisticFitness.com. When I read his blog, the quote below hits a chord in me.

“Yoga Teachers teach because we love what we do. and you, our students, make what we do so much fun to do. all Group Exercise Leaders however, share a common flaw; we suffer from low self-esteem. we Teach because we want your approval. you prove to us, our worth as valuable Human Beings upon Mother Earth. Our worst nightmare, which is a chronic one regardless of decades spent Teaching, is that no one shows up to our class. You’ve been there perhaps; you throw a big party, talk it up, and…only echos in the big, rented room.” -WholisticFitness.com Direct Lines Monday, April 21, 2008

We had 5 people which is small for a usually packed Coach Ilg class. I secretly wondered how it would go? How does he feel with such a small group? After a minute or two he closed his eyes and taught the perfect class for me. He gave it his all, just for the five of us. It couldn’t be about the money because he wasn’t making any. It was about the love and respect he had for the five of us. How blessed am I to have such a beautiful role model as my coach.

My spirit is renewed. I know I need to step it up a notch in everything I do. If you want to take this challenge, join me. I am sure it will be easier if we help each other.

2008 promises to bring a new found freedom in my life and hopefully yours. I am going to be chasing my biggest fears and face some of my dragons. Sound like fun?

Breathe Focused, Steve Mackel – Certified Hypnotherapist

The Earth Needs Us!!!

For some time now…these thoughts have been on mind. Actually ever since watching An Inconvenient Truth by Al Gore.

The more I read the news, read the reports of the top scientists, and speak to our elders like my grandparents…it is obvious…that the Earth is disastrously warming.

Granted. Not much. But even a few degrees can make profound huge differences in the health of our ecosystems. And from what I can figure out, they are not doing so well.

In our lifetimes we might see…the destruction of the world’s coral reefs…the end of Amazon rainforest…the melting of the North Pole…no more major glaciers…whole islands going underwater.

A real tragedy of epic proportions. There was a while when I could just put my head in the sand like an ostrich and focus on my fitness levels and my job and my family and my money. But that time of American prosperity seems to be coming to slowdown and new realities are setting in.

And a new challenge. One that will ask us all to work together to save this planet and our very civilization.

I’d like to make my Earth Day Message a pretty one with pretty flowers and some sweet meditative lets go out to nature and commune with the animals. And trust me, I will be doing this tonight with my trail running group at Trump Golf Course at 5:30.

But I think a bigger message needs to be told here today. A one of AWAKENING TO THE TRUTH. The calling is upon us.

I wish I could say I live a green lifestyle…but I have a long way to go. And making this a daily priority and living the example of a low impact, environmentally healing individual growing a green community around me will be a priority for me and my writings on this blog also in the years ahead.

Please, please, start educating yourself especially on the issues of climate change. There is more to life than the podium, or a medal, or the gym.

Together we can make a difference.

God Bless,

Gary

Coach Ilg’s High Performance Yoga® A Rare Appearance in LA

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Beach Runner Kick-off Party and RunCall This Wednesday

08 Beach runners group
Join The Beach Runners Fun Run Club

EVENT: Beach Runners Kick-off Party – FREE
LOCATION: Buono’s Pizza 250 W. Ocean Blvd. Long Beach
DATE & TIME: Wednesday, April 16th at 6:30 PM
FORMAT: Come, ask questions, register, meet people and enjoy

EVENT: RunCall with Greg Norte – FREE
DATE & TIME: Wednesday, April 16th at 5:30 PM Pacific
FORMAT: Simulcast! (Attend via Phone or Webcast — it’s your choice. It is also available for podcast after the event)
TO ATTEND THIS EVENT, CLICK THIS LINK NOW…

Catalina Marathon Race Report …Part 3

catalina beach runners

This was my third time doing the Catalina Marathon.

What began as a dream a long distant goal of an island sitting out in the Pacific Ocean free from the cars, trucks, exhausts, freeways, and dirty green water of the Los Angeles. It seemed like an escape a place to get away from Los Angeles for me and my family.

My family has always had a close affinity with the Island. I have always had an affinity for islands.

My father in his twenties already tired of the rainy English weather left that Island for a sunny Island in the Bahamas when he was still in his twenties.

He arrived in tropical paradise with only $50 in his pocket, my mom, and three young kids, myself at six, and my younger brothers Jason, four, and Karl, two.

Pursuing a dream of a better life somewhere. From where these CALLINGS from is so hard to say…but I can only envision my father sitting at work or in his house looking out at the crummy English weather and dreaming of something better.

Most of his family ridiculed his decision. “You’re bloody crazy for going to a little island with three young kids”. “You’ll be back in a year”. “You’re denying your kids of proper childhood”.

But these are all trappings that you must learn to overcome when going for some rediculous goal.

I like to call it the CRABS IN A BUCKET SYNDROME. Put a bunch of crabs in a bucket, as one climbs out, others will try to pull him down.

Ever felt like that with your fitness goals? Like as soon as you say it…someone shoots it down. Your vision of running a marathon. Or running a half marathon. Or a triathlon. Or maybe even the Catalina Marathon. When you thought the idea…felt the calling…do the people in your life say “yes you can do it” or do they start finding reasons for you to fail…maybe that voice that shoots down your dreams is in your own head.

In two weeks, I will be interviewing someone on the phone, Greg Norte a peak performance Coach who will talk in detail about LEAVING THESE CRABS behind. That’s a call you don’t want to miss.

So let’s back to the story.

My father did well in the Bahamas. We lived there for six years. I grew up on a Caribbean Island. White sand beaches. Snorkeling. Waterskiing. Great friends.

A childhood a could not have asked for any better. My younger brother Jason was my playmate much of that time. We’d climb trees together…play catch for hours…kick soccer balls…ride bikes…it was amazing…and I still consider him my best friend.

At twelve my father moved to Southern California where we’ve grown up since. We moved to Palos Verdes.

So after moving here, my father always a lover of boats, has bought a series of bigger boats until he got boats big enough to do…you guessed it…go to Catalina Island. I’ve been over there numerous times with him on his boats. Fishing. Snorkeling. Sitting drinking tea. Eating fish and chips. Something about the island…the small town of Avalon…the clear water…the smell of the ocean all reminders of who and what my family is…and what’s important for us.

Like a trip to an Island away from all the bussle of our lives. Enjoying one another’s company…out in nature…well maybe there’s nothing better in this life.

Maybe it comes a little close to what we’d like to call heaven.

Writing this out now…so much more becomes clear to me about who and what I am and why I pushed cajoled so many runners to go to Catalina and run the marathon.

As I write this…I see now how this is so much more than just Steve and I wanting runners to go do a hard race. We’re not nuts. There is always a purpose behind what we do with the people we coach.

But now as I write this…as I reflect back on this journey…its clear that there was a deeper purpose behind this crew of people we’ve been building. A purpose to the miles on wet muddy trails. A purpose to the cold morning runs. A purpose to Monkey Hill, Del Cerro, the Bataan Death March, hill intervals, the grueling Buffalo Run.
So like I’ve written before there was a lot of special meaning to this Catalina Marathon as it was my younger brother Jason’s first marathon.

He ran with the Beach Runners a few times. Fast runner…very nimble trail runner. This was his first time with the unique training requirements of the marathon.

The Weekend…the finale…the FINAL BATTLE.

Steve and I arrived in Catalina Friday. Checked into 319 Catalina Ave, and then went to lunch with my parents for guess what?…Fish and chips.

So we sat with a view of the ocean…talking running…talking marathon…speaking to my brother and his daughter, Kelsea (my niece), excited…just glad to be away…away from LA for the day…the weather was fantastic. I bet a lollipop to Kelsea I would beat her Dad. A marathon is one race I would have a chance.

On the boardwalk of Catalina beachfront other Beach Runners began arriving…Uncle Sam, Sara, Sandy, Jake, Gwendolyn, Alex, Yolanda.

I cannot tell you much this is special for me. It’s beyond words. The feeling of being part of a team about to do a REDICULOUS GOAL like the Catalina Marathon. It is a damn hard race as the team would attest to but its like I just want to yell out loud like the Obama cheer, “YES WE CAN!”.

We all checked in. Had to walk up some crazy big hill for registration. Saw more Beach Runners…Mina, Doug, John, Bill, Keith, Pamela, Andrea.

Steve and I began meeting a bunch of oldtimers of the Catalina Marathon. Runners are religious about this marathon. It’s like a pilgrimage…a trip to a sacred foreign country…a place where you see the fellow people on your journeys.

The night before Matt and I cooked up a damn fine meal. I meditated and visualized the race ahead the next day. We had Beach Runners come by the place for last minute coaching…it was going to be GOOOOOOD.

The next morning we took a very rough boat ride at 5 a.m over to Two Harbors. A lot o f people got sick.

Then we all met up at the starting line. Like 20 Beach Runners…by far we had the biggest team there. The starting line…I kid you not…was drawn in the dirt. We waited for a little while then we were off.

My plan…well you know how those things go…was to run with Matt and Jason for while…well I think their plan was maybe to keep up with me. It’s so funny that other people see me as fast…if you guys only knew where I came from 5 years ago. Another story.

I ran with Jason for about two miles. Up the first set of hills. I really love my brother. He was always the athlete in the family…star soccer player…good at everything … now he’s a really fast runner. Even on trails. So we ran together checking out the awesome views then after the first little downhill I looked back and he was getting into his pace…I was finding mine. And I was off.

I don’t understand Beach Runners who run with other people on races. It is strange to me. I find a pace that’s good for me on that course on that day with how I’m feeling with my goals in mind…and damn if I’m going to wait for your ass.

A RACE IS A RACE. Some of y’all got to get this into your heads a little better. A RACE is not a training run where you kick back and talk about the crumpets and tea you’re going to have at the finish line.

It’s a chance to spill your guts out on a course against people that have been training for months just like you have. A chance to run until you’re damn tired then you gotta run for many more miles.

A chance to GET ON THE PODIUM. Any which way you can.

So leaving my brother behind, I was off. The first six miles for me were frisky to say the least. A big long downhill took us down to Little Harbor and a series of big hills began.

I did notice I was getting a little tired by this point. Not good. My fear was that doing th e LA Marathon a few weeks earlier would effect me. This was turning out to be the case. Screw it…I was still going to run hard.

I passed mile 13 at 1:53. About five minutes faster than last year. Pretty good. Then a long straight section goes through the middle of the island. I got into a groove here and just plugged away. In retrospect I felt good here…but people were certainly beginning to pass me. With some fatigue starting to show in my legs…I kept just one thought going through my mind…just do each mile better than the mile before…just do each mile better than the one before. GRADUAL IMPROVEMENT.

I had to walk up the first third of nasty Pumphouse hill at mile 18. But I always feel guilty walking hills on a race, so I finished it up running. At the top of the hill my legs cramped up for a few minutes. Strange. I had been taking lots of electrolytes the whole race.

The rest of the race I was tired. I have to admit. A few reasons for this: the traveling to Orlando/San Francisco with lots of luxurious foods, the dropoff in training after Buffalo, not enough sleep in the nights leading up to the race, and running LA two weeks before. The last few hills were tough. I was beat ass tired. But hanging in there. Plugging away. Not giving up. No way was I going to give in to this course to my competitors no way!!!!

Then the downhill came and I was much slower than I usually am on the downhills… but still doing 6:30 miles. I got on the road and decided I was going to go all out for the finish line…the last five miles had been a trudge…and I wanted to go under four hours. So I gave it my all. Passed about three people. Everyone is sooooo fast at this pace.
Saw the finish line and cranked it. My parents cheered me on. My niece cheered me on. Bernice and Noretta cheered me on higher up on the road. I was going to leave nothing out there on that course.

My time…3:59:55. Whew. That cut it a little close.

Matt came in eight minutes later. Then Laurie with a smoking 4:09 (she should have won a podium spot but they got the paperwork wrong…more on that later).

Then we waited. My niece was getting anxious but finally Jason came down the road to an awesome time of 4:25 for his first marathon.

The rest of the Beach Runners came in. Some did better than expected. Some a little slower but all of that is irrelevant. Everyone just loved the course.

There were wildflowers everywhere. The air was clean and crisp. A tail wind helped us through the middle of the island. The views were magnificent. The food was tasty on the course.

The course is tough…it’s challenging…for most of us…it’s the hardest thing you might ever do athletically…but EVERYONE of our runners finished.

I cannot even begin to put into words how proud I am of everyone of you.

That you all choose to not just do a marathon but a damn hard one because you knew that through these kinds of challenges it makes you grow into a stronger more determined person than you are already.

And that you know how beautiful that Island is. Especially this year…especially with all the wildflowers that were out there.

Your friendships mean the world to me. All the days on the trails of Palos Verdes…talking about our lives…our dreams…the flowers…the mustard…how to run uphills and downhills…getting lost…getting our asses kicked by Monkey Hill.

I loved every single moment of the whole journey. And I’m bummed it’s over already.

So that night we had a party at 319 Catalina Ave. We gave speeches. Mine was on my real goal…no it wasn’t about going under four hours. Or winning the American Trail Championship for my age group (which I did but paperwork, again, not correct).

The real goal was to be like the old timers we met over there. The ones walking around with bars showing 20, 26, 27 marathons done year after year on that island. Because its a chance to go to a beautiful place with good friends, do a hard race, and celebrate.

A real pilgrimage. Like I told everyone that night. You will see me in Catalina every year doing those two races. I’ll add in the fifty miler this January (my new goal). But no big copywriting jobs, no chasing the almighty dollar, no luxurious hotels, can even begin to compare to the joy and the pride I felt watching all of you come to that finish line.

I look forward to training you all again next year. On the trails.

We finished the evening off similar to the way we did last year. Matt, Jason, Sandy, Anna, John, his girlfriend, and Uncle Sam, well we went to the Karoake bar. The Chi Chi bar was closed…the girls wanted to dance…and Uncle Sam being the gentleman he is showed us all a bunch a nifty dance moves.

Thanks to all the great mentors that helped out in Palos Verdes this season…Uncle Sam…Keith…Matt…Janet…George…LaTonya…John. You folks were the real reason behind the program’s success. You all are the most amazing people.

If I’ve forgotten anyone please excuse my A.D.D.

Team Hoyt … Yes, You Can!

The most inspirational thing I have ever seen.This will motivate you.

Check out their Boston Marathon times.

Pretty good race log over the last ten years. Unbelievable.

Learn more about this amazing duo at their website.

AND PLEASE LEAVE A COMMENT BELOW.

Tomorrow, Tuesday, Running blind – Count down begins to LA hosting third leg of blind man’s global Seven Magnificent Marathons challenge at Rose Bowl

dave and mac
Dave and Mac Run Together at the Rose Bowl Tuesday

The excitement is building in Los Angeles as the city prepares to host the third leg of blind Dave Heeley’s global Seven Magnificent Marathons, challenge on Tuesday 08 April 2008. Braille Institute of America is sponsoring the race, which will be held at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, from 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Dave and his sighted running guide, Malcolm Carr, will complete laps of the Rose Bowl totaling 26.2miles. Local running clubs have been invited to join Dave, and other people wanting to offer their support can come along and join in the action to offer the best possible support and motivation from LA to get Dave and Mac through third leg.

Getting involved: Feel inspired and want to be a part of history? Join Dave as he completes the third leg of his Seven Magnificent Marathons in Los Angeles, and help him to become the first blind person to complete seven marathons, on seven continents, in seven days. This is just a reminder that the third leg of the Seven Magnificent Marathons challenge is tomorrow at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena. The run will begin at 11 a.m. and we will be at The Rose Bowl until approx. 4 p.m. You are welcome to come by any time you’re free to run, walk or cheer for Dave as he attempts this incredible journey. He has already completed the 1st leg in Antarctica and he’s doing great! Your support means so much to everyone at Braille Institute. As for the logistics, when you arrive at the Rose Bowl, please come to parking lot F. You will see our signs and tents set up adjacent to Parking Lot F and you can park your car there for free. I am attaching a map of the Rose Bowl in case some of you are unfamiliar with the area.

Inspired by the totally life-transforming independence provided by his guide dog, Dave’s Seven Magnificent Marathons challenge aims to increase awareness of visual impairment around the globe. Dave, who has been blind for the past 20 years, won’t be able to see the locations, routes and supporters. He will rely on his sighted guide Malcolm Carr to accompany him around the global marathon circuit. The challenge is far beyond the capabilities of most people, and Dave will need enormous physical and mental stamina to complete his Seven Magnificent Marathons.

The punishing schedule involves running 183.4 miles in a week – 26.2 on each continent – putting incredible strains on his body. He will need to remain focussed and use every ounce of strength, as he smashes through pain barriers, time zones and jet lag; all factors he will have to overcome as he pushes the boundaries of human endurance to realise his dream. If successful, 50-year-old Dave, a married father of three, will become the first blind person to complete seven marathons, on seven continents, in seven days.
Dave and Malcolm, both from West Bromwich, in the West Midlands, UK – and their Seven Magnificent Marathons support team – will arrive in Los Angeles one day after beginning the extraordinary event at on Monday 07 April, in Mount Pleasant, Falkland Islands (Antarctica). They will have completed the second leg in Rio De Janeiro (South America) within the same 24-hour period. The Seven Magnificent Marathons team will only be on the North America continent for a total of 14hours and 50minutes hours before departing for the next leg of the global challenge in Sydney, Australia (Autralia). Having completed the Sydney leg of the Seven Magnificent Marathons, Dave will progress onto three subsequent grueling legs in Dubai (Asia), Tunis (Africa) and London (Europe) – arriving in spectacular style for the Flora London Marathon on Sunday 13 April.

“Around the world, every five seconds, someone loses their sight, and in many countries there are few services or none at all to help them,” Dave said. “In the UK alone, 100 people start to lose their sight every day – with many thousands receiving inadequate support in getting their lives back together after experiencing this loss. I know how terrifying life can seem when you lose your sight, but I have been fortunate enough to have had my life transformed by Guide Dogs. That is why I am determined to create awareness of visual impairment around the globe in an effort to improve services for blind and partially sighted people. By doing this, I am hoping to make a personal difference to the lives of people with sight loss worldwide by bringing mobility issues to the forefront of people’s minds.”

Marathon Focused, Steve Mackel – MarathonTraining.TV Head Coach