Xterra Boney Mountain Half Marathon This Sunday, Jan. 12, 2014 – Big Changes in Scenery This Year

Big Changes took place on the Boney Mountain trail over 2013. The big change is the scenery. The Camarillo fire in early May of 2013, burnt most of the brush to the ground. It makes the course look like a moonscape. Watch out for stubs of small brush trunks. But this is the way nature works and there is already re-growth and new-growth. This Sunday is going to be epic for all runners, but especially those who have run it in the past.

This will be my 3rd year running this race and I have run the entire course 5 times. Let’s just say it’s tough. In fact, here’s my Garmin data from 2012. Use it to help plan your race:

Here’s a video I took during the race in 2012. It’s what the scenery used to look like:

Here are my tips:

    • There are not a lot of places to pass once you get on the trail up to the the Water Tank aid station. Don’t worry about passing, it goes up and up. Just keep pace with the person in front of you. If you can’t then pull over and let others pass you. There will probably be places you will walk in this section.
    • Use the downhills for speed and, if possible, to catch your breath. After the Water Tank aid station there is a 1 mile downhill and it is very runnable to the aid station at the bottom. You leave the valley floor quickly and start a steep 4 mile climb.
    • Let faster downhill runners pass you. I am good on the downhills but there are some really steep sections that are single tracks  that I slow down for. I know some really fast downhillers and I have needed to mover over for them. Be courteous.
    • The final downhill has a lot of rocks and gets a little technical, beware.
    • In the last mile there is a sneaky short hill that sucks.
    • After that hill it is a free-for-all downhill to the finish line – Go For It!
    • It’s a beautiful trail, cool people and the reason Xterra Races are so much fun. Enjoy the experience.
    • A hydration belt, Camelbak or hand held water is a good idea.
    • Do not litter. If not at an aid station put your trash in a pocket.

    See you there.

    Race Focused, Steve Mackel – Head Coach Sole Runners Marathon Training Programs

    Running Shoe Store of the Month – Fleet Feet Sports Burbank

    SoCalRunning.com is starting a new campaign – Running Shoe Store of the Month:

    January 2014 Running Shoe Store of the Month is – Fleet Feet Sports Burbank

    Use this link to get a 15% off coupon for Fleet Feet Sports Burbank
    good for the rest of January 2014

    I frequent quite a few running shoe stores in So Cal. For this new SoCalRunning.com program, I chose Fleet Feet Sports Burbank for the month of January 2014. They opened in October of 2012. Fleet Feet Burbank is located at 1516 W.Magnolia Blvd., Burbank, CA 91506 (818) 238-9522.

    My friend Paul told me about this store. He liked the cool group runs and a free  yoga classes they offered. So, last year I went on a run in Griffith Park then made the 5 minute drive to Fleet Feet.


    I walked in and met the owner, Colin. We immediately starting talking about shoes and fitting. Colin walked me through a typical shoe fitting. They have a good selection with most of the major brands. I was checking out the Saucony Peregrine. I always like check our new trail shoes.

    Burbank Fleet Feet store philosophy is, “To be all inclusive store to educate and inform their customers.” If they don’t have the shoes you are looking for they will order them for you. They also carry a full line of running clothes and running accessories. Surprisingly they also carry some yoga mats and props. That because they offer a free bi-weekly yoga class.

    Fleet Feet Sports Burbank is very involved in the local running community. Here’s a list of what they are doing in January:

    • Pub Run – Every Wed. at 6:30p.  3 or 4 mile options, have different vendors present for product trials twice a month.  Those who want to join after, we go down to Tony’s Darts Away for $4 pints of Golden Road Brews.
    • Yoga for Runners – Every other Thursday at 7pm , next one on January 9th.  Free 1.5 hour yoga class geared specifically towards runners and walkers.
    • Through January 21st, our Winter Warrior runs are every Tuesday evening at 6:30p and Saturday morning at 8:30a.  Theme inspired fun runs, with varying distances and abilities.  Gain points for attendance and win prizes for accumulating points.

    Specific January events not falling into the above list:

    Remember to take advantage of the 15% coupon and check out Fleet Feet Sports Burbank.


    Train Focused, Steve Mackel – Master ChiRunning Instructor

    Last Chance, 54 Sun Salutations this Thursday, 7:30 PM – All Are Welcome

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    This is your last chance to kick off the new year, set your intentions, then seal it with 54 Sun Salutations.

    It’s ok if you missed the first 54.

    Many people have asked if it is ok to just do 54. Yes, of course it is and it’s encouraged. Join Steve Mackel and the yoga crew at BreakThru Fitness in Pasadena, on Thursday, Jan 9, at 7:30 PM.

    Thursday night’s 54 Sun Salutations will consist of 3 sets of 9 “A Series” and 3 sets of 9 “B Series” The classes with Coach Steve are at Breakthru Fitness in Pasadena, CA. Members are free of course, and for these special classes, there is a $10 charge for non-members. This special price is only for these 54 Sun Salutations.

    Breakthru Fitness is located at: 345 South Lake Ave., Pasadena, CA 91105 Phone: (626) 396-1700
    108 2014

    Practice Focused, Steve Mackel – Yogi

    New Year Goal Setting Tips by Coach Steve Mackel


    Setting goals for the new year is popular by design. We can start all over if we choose. But if you are like most of us, within weeks you are off your diet, your new workout schedule or back to that bad habit.

    I listen to a lot of books and success seminars on CD while I am driving. One author I really like is Brian Tracy. He has numerous books on organizing and planning. On his “Psychology of Achievement” CD he talks about the power of writing down your goals. Tracy refers to a longitudinal Harvard study that points to the success of writing down your goals. He states the study shows that of the Harvard MBA students that were interview, only 13% of the people had goals, only 3% of them actually had clearly defined goals and took the time to write their goals down on paper. Of the 13% they averaged double the income of the 84% that had no specific goals, while the 3% that committed their clearly defined goals to paper, were making 10 times the income of the 84%.

    Good enough for me.

    But over the past few year I haven’t been getting the all results I would like so I looked up the Harvard study and couldn’t find it. That lead me to Sid Savara’s web site http://sidsavara.com/personal-productivity/fact-or-fiction-the-truth-about-the-harvard-written-goal-study

    He had been quoting this study too then was informed it was made up, so he did some research and couldn’t find it. Savara did not stop there, on his web site he posted this Dominican University study that showed results that confirm the power of committing clear, defined and achievable goals to paper: http://cdn.sidsavara.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/09/researchsummary2.pdf

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    The conclusions of the Dominican University Study:

    1. The positive effect of accountability was supported: those who sent weekly progress reports to their friend accomplished significantly more than those who had unwritten goals, wrote their goals, formulated action commitments or sent those action commitments to a friend.

    2. There was support for the role of public commitment: those who sent their commitments to a friend accomplished significantly more than those who wrote action commitments or did not write their goals.

    3. The positive effect of written goals was supported: Those who wrote their goals accomplished significantly more than those who did not write their goals. With the proliferation of business and personal coaching and the often anecdotal reports of coaching success it is important that this growing profession be founded on sound scientific research.

    This study provides empirical evidence for the effectiveness of three coaching tools: accountability, commitment and writing down one’s goals.

    Now back to me. Maybe my goals weren’t clear and defined enough. I think this is the most important step that a lot of us miss. Second, I need more accountability. Third, I need to write down my goals more than once. More like daily.

    And this brings me back to running and full and half marathon training. I started the to create that accountability and public commitment. I know I need it. I also know it works and as worked with the Sole Runners for over 8 years.

    For Runners and their running, plan out your races. Races help motivate me and keep me accountable.


    So the question over the next few first days in January, can you come up with specific, clearly defined goals? Do you have a trusted person you can share them with? Are you going to write them down? Will you write them down on a regular basis?

    You’ll know how I am doing if you see new blog post up here and on SoCalRunning.com.

    Good Luck and Train Focused, Steve Mackel – Head Coach Sole Runners Full and Half Marathon Training Programs

    54 Sun Salutations Down 54 to Go – Yoga for Runners – Part 1

    108 Sun Salutations are a yoga tradition. I did my first 108 10 or 11 years ago and I was hooked but I’m not quite sure why. They are difficult, It takes a long time, it can hurt, I can feel like a wuss and the list goes on. But when you finish, and it doesn’t matter if you did all of them or half of them you feel good.

    Yoga and running have gone hand in hand for me when I started training for my first marathon. In 2001, I was training for the 2002 LA Marathon and quickly made yoga part of my training. I had taken a couple of classes and got my butt kicked. So, I thought I dig a little deeper. I took a beginners class twice a week. It was great balance for my running. In fact, I probably worked harder on yoga than running.

    In the following years I would keep up the yoga while training for marathons, half marathon, biking and swimming. I really liked yoga and it was making me stronger and more flexible, physically and mentally. Then I went to my first 108 Sun Salutation practice. It became tradition. I did them on Solstices, Equinox(s), or right around the beginning of a new year.

    In 2009, I started an annual 108 Sun Salutation class at Breakthru Fitness. But the class schedule difficult to fit in all 108, so I broke it into two sessions. We didn’t have 2 and a half hours. Plus, 54 quality Sun Salutations at a time are hard enough. 5 years later and they are still difficult. Another  thing I threw in was doing the first 54 to purge out things we want to let go of in the new year. We write them down before class and then burn them after class. The second 54 will be for setting our intentions/goals for the new year.

    Burning the things we want to purge from our lives

    The rest is history. We did 54 last night and purged out a lot. Now we have 54 to go. You still have a chance to join us. Next Thursday, January 9, at 7;30 PM at Breakthru fitness. Or, you can do them on your own. Here’s last night breakdown:

    6 sets of 9 Sun Salutation. We take about 1 minute between each set to wipe the sweat off our mats:

    Set 1 – 9 Series A
    Set 2 – 9 Series B
    Set 3 – 9 Series B
    Set 4 – 9 Series A
    Set 5 – 9 Series B
    Set 6 – 9 Series A
    108 2014

    Train Focused, Coach Steve Mackel – Yogi in Training

    108 Sun Salutations – Over Two Thursdays Jan. 2 & 9 at 7:30 PM

    108 2014

    Join Steve Mackel and the yoga crew at BreakThru Fitness in Pasadena, do it Virtually or get your yoga studio to host their own. The 108 Sun Salutations will be broken in half, 54 on Thursday, Jan. 2, and 54 on Thursday, Jan 9, at 7:30 PM

    The first 54 will be for purification and the second 54 will be for setting your intentions for 2014. Each night’s 54 Sun Salutations will consist of 3 sets of 9 “A Series” and 3 sets of 9 “B Series” Bring in 2014 with purification and intention the way yogis do. The classes with Coach Steve are at Breakthru Fitness in Pasadena, CA. Members are free of course, and for these special classes, there is a $10 charge for non-members. This special price is only for 108 Sun Salutations. More info to come.

    Practice Focused, Steve Mackel – Yogi

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