First Annual Thanksgiving Weekend Warrior Awards

Thanksgiving weekend provides a great opportunity to race and train. Years ago Coach Steve Ilg started a contest/workouts, “Earn the Bird” on Wednesday night and/or Thursday morning and on Friday we would “Burn the Bird.” I’ve spent every year since carrying on this tradition.

Wednesday evening I taught a Spinning and Yoga class, Thursday morning I was at Mark’s yoga class at Mission Street Yoga “Earning My Bird.” On Friday, I “Burned the Bird” with an 80 mile bike ride from Anaheim to Solana Beach. Saturday, I ran over 9 miles with the Sole Runners but I took Sunday off. Overall a pretty good training weekend. is starting an annual “Thanksgiving Weekend Warrior Award.” This year we are giving award to 2 people that stepped beyond their normal limits and took this weekend to another level, Carlos and Dave.

Steve, Mentor Mirella and Carlos in Long Beach after the Sole Runners Training

Carlos is a cyclist but new to running and just joined the Sole Runners 6 weeks ago. On Thursday he ran 10 miles, rode 100 miles on Friday, ran over 9 miles on Saturday, then rode another 60 miles on Sunday. That is good enough to win this award any 4 day weekend. Congratulations Carlos and great job.

Dave at the Top of Mt. Baldy Earlier This Year

Dave took my Spinning and Yoga class on Wednesday, ran a 10k and PR’d it on Thursday morning, rode 80 miles with our group in Friday, and ran 8 miles on Sunday in the freezing cold Pasadena morning. Dave has really stepped it up this year. I remember my first 80 miles ride, it was hard. Dave seemed fresher than me when he arrived at Pizza Port. And, anytime you PR in a Thanksgiving day race, gives you a chance to podium here at

Besides Carlos and Dave many other people stepped up this weekend. Thanksgiving is one of those rare 4 day weekends where we can do it all in So Cal. Post your weekend workouts in the comments section below and join the contest next year.

Train Focused, Steve Mackel – Co-Founder

Lost in Madrid, Espana – November 2010

Madrid, Spain is a beautiful city with lots of great site, varied terrain and runners. I had a great time just walking around but running was even more fun. I take you around a small but popular part of Madrid, running on tiny streets, through town squares, parks and past the local sites.

I was scouting Madrid as a possible Marathon to take the Sole Runners to one of

these years. It is a great fun place to be and run.

Train Focused, Steve Mackel – Co-founder

Athens Marathon Stats

Click “View Details” to see my mile splits. Here are my stats for the Athens Classic Marathon, October 31, 2010. Miles 10 – 20 were pretty tough as you can see by the elevation chart below. What a great day! The Video for this race is below this post. Now more work to bring that 3:55 down to a 3:30 and qualify for Boston.

Train Focused, Steve Mackel – ChiRunning Instructor

Athens Classic Marathon – The 2500th Anniversary of "The Marathon" 31-10-10

I don’t even know where to start but can I ever top this marathon? Probably not. Today was history. Today, 2500 years later we retraced history. Everything about the day was special and the last 2 minutes of the video are almost worth the first 10 minutes.

Once again I try to show you the course and the people running it, as well as share my personal experience with you. I met people from all of the world. What I don’t show you or talk about are the smells. International marathons, or at least this one had some smelly people. If you smell the chances are I don’t interview you. Second, more men run than women and it feels like it is the exact opposite in the States. Also, the runners are much faster. I haven’t seen the official stats but the median finishing time has to be closer to 4 hours rather than most marathons in the States which seem to be around 5 hours.

The city of Athens stepped up and this marathon was managed very well. I felt it ran smoothly and have some suggestion for race directors that I Iearned today.

I also managed to PR which added to the day and my feelings but nothing beats running into the marble Olympic stadium in Athens. The music was pumping and the people never stopped cheering. It was amazing.

Now, I can start looking for the next international marathon to run. Join the email list in the center column and it will keep you in the loop because the Sole Runners had a great time and are going to make this an annual event.

Lastly, I have to thank all the Sole Runners that made the trip over with us, Michele for making our wings that everyone loved, and all our well wishers. I’ll see you State-side soon. Look for my Madrid video at the end of the week.

Train Focused, Steve Mackel – Head Coach Sole Runners