American River 50 Mile – AR50 by Steve Mackel

The American River 50 Mile Endurance race was my first 50 miler. When I was editing it I tried to make it shorter but to cut a few extra seconds just wasn’t worth it. Beside most of my marathon videos are about 9 minutes and this race was almost twice as long. If you are looking to do your first 50 or any 50 mile race this is a great one. I hope you enjoy it Below is my race report to go along with the video.

The race started right on time, 6 AM. It was still dark under a full moon. I wasn’t completely prepared for the start. I wanted to get everyone crossing the starting line. Almost 3 minutes into the start I wanted to get started but I was still in my sweats and hadn’t done my warm-up exercises. First rookie move: Not asking the timer if I could take a few minutes to get ready. Instead I crossed the starting line, pulled over to the left, struggled out of my sweats and went through my rituals. Right about then Kat was crossing the starting line. We ran the first 4 miles together.

Second rookie move: I didn’t have my Garmin ready to go at the start. It was dark and I just got a new 910XT. I started pressing buttons and ended up locking the keys. I wouldn’t display the right fields. I wanted to see my Heart Rate because I had intended to keep my HR under 120 bpm for the first 3 hours regardless of speed. Luckily my Garmin 310XT was in my support crew’s car. They had it waiting for me at the mile 8 aid station, so I switched. I will post my Garmin stats later.

The first 27 miles are pretty flat with only a few real hills but still a net gain overall. I felt great and my support crew had food waiting for me at every aid station through Beal’s Point. I ate as much as I could. We agreed to meet next at Rattlesnake Bar.

At Beal’s Point, mile 26.6, I was right on schedule. Third rookie mistake: Trying new food. I drank a can of Ensure for the calories. It really filled me up and I wasn’t thirsty so I stopped drinking pretty much until Granite Bay.

At Granite Bay I was handed a cup of ice and water. It didn’t go down easy and I was worried something was wrong, maybe a little dehydration. I only had two 6 oz water bottles in my belt for the next legs of the race. That would prove to be a big mistake.

Somewhere around mile 33 I didn’t feel good. At this point you are out in the sticks. A guy named Ryan told me I’d be ok and I had been in tough spots before, but I was glad he reminded me.

I think the terrain between Granite Bay and Horseshoe Bar are the most difficult miles on the course. I was in survival mode just focused on getting to Buzzard’s Cove. Carolyn, my new friend, said she was worried about being dehydrated too and was going to work through it by constantly sipping her electrolyte drink. A good strategy if I had liquid but my bottles were dry. Thankfully she let me have a gulp from her bottle and it was only half a mile to Buzzard’s Cove

When I got to Buzzard’s Cove aid station (serviced only by boat), I saw ice cream cones. They looked great but not for me. I drank 4 cups of GU Brew. I filled my two bottles and took a cup with me as I started to Horseshoe Bar. I was constantly sipping and eating my salted potatoes. I kept the wax paper cup in my pocket and was using it to take water from every little stream we ran over to pour some over my head and cool down. My bottles were dry with a half mile to the next aid station. I also was developing my first hot spot on my right forefoot.

Horseshoe Bar was nirvana. They poured cold water over my head, neck and back. They filled my bottles up and gave me more salted potatoes. I was carrying a small bar of Body Glide, so I applied it to both my feet. I knew my crew was waiting at Rattlesnake Bar I just had to keep moving then I could rest and reassess my situation. Granite Bay to Rattlesnake Bar were some of the toughest 10 miles I have run in my life. The salted potatoes were probably my lifesaver. The salt helped me rehydrate.

Rattlesnake Bar was a welcome sight with lots of cheering supporters. My crew was on the spot with everything I could want. I took 10 – 15 minutes putting more Body Glide on my feet, pouring ice water over my head, drinking cups of GU Brew and stocking up on salted potatoes. I took two Alleve and hit the trail again.

I took an extra water bottle with me this time. The trail was soft and beautiful. That’s when I met Anna. I heard her say she wanted to be at the bottom of the hill by 4:15 PM and I thought we had more than enough time to make that goal when I said, “That should be very doable.” She looked at me and said, “This must be your first AR50 because you don’t know what you are in for Cowboy.”

Thankfully I started to feel better and the views were spectacular. All I wanted to do was dunk my head in the river but it was always just a little bit too far away. Around Mile 42.5 there was a bridge crossing a tributary. I saw a path to the stream and dunked my head. I can’t completely explain how it happened but I was re-energized.

The volunteers at Dowdin’s Post, in the middle of nowhere, were so energetic it was contagious. Plus, they had lukewarm chicken noodle soup, just what the doctor ordered. I was back on track and feeling good. Now it was just getting the work done. On to Last Gasp.

What you don’t see on the course profile is the climb to Last Gasp aid station, “Stupid Steep”. I am sure some super humans run up it, but not us mortals. It can be a real morale de-flater. But, I was feeling stronger than I had in 8 hours. I could walk up that BAMF. And, just before Last Gasp, a few young guys, I called them water valets, were waiting to run your bottles to the top and have them waiting for you. Heavy metal was blasting from some speaker as we approached their aid station. They took great care of me. Only 2 miles to go.

A Maniac friend Lan and I started up the next hill, which wasnot as bad as what we had just conquered. She said we could still go sub 11 hours and qualify for Western States. I took the challenge and went into a meditation prayer state, running with short walk breaks when it got really steep. My support crew was about a half mile from the finish down the hill cheering me on. I was probably rude because I would not talk, I just kept my chant going. Before I knew it I was at the top of the hill. The race was in the bag.

The crowd was great at the finish line, cheering loudly for us. The finishing arch was such a beautiful site. I crossed with a fist pump and was handed my cool, new, green Patagonia finisher’s jacket. I can cross a 50 mile race off my bucket list.

My crew showed me to the car where they had my recovery Ensure waiting for me, along with melted ice in a cooler. I dunked my head once again and this time put my feet in. Then I would go over to the finishing area and cheer the other runners on while resting on the grass.

A little while later my friend Hector came in with his traditional heel kick across the finish line. My day was officially done. Then was time for a well deserved beer.

Train Focused, Steve Mackel – Certified ChiRunning® Instructor

Elite ultra endurance and trail runner MICHELLE BARTON

Southern California’s MICHELLE BARTON; an elite ultra distance and trail runner with an intoxicating love for the sport, eternally positive spirit, and incredible athletic ability.

Podcast 63: Elite ultra endurance and trail runner MICHELLE BARTON | The Final Sprint (TFS) | The Internet’s Premier Running, Fitness, and Nutrition Publication

I met Michelle at the Holcomb Valley Ultramarathon this year.

She won the race coming in hours ahead of me.

She passed me about mile four of Mt. Baldy.

I told her she had the best smile.

She said “I love you”.

That made my race.

Blogged with Flock

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Sindy’s UltraMarathon Race Report

Peggy (womens 15 Mile winner), Sindy, Sandy, and Laury
Catalina Marathon was such a beautiful experience.  When coach Gary
suggested going 7 miles farther in an ultra marathon I was eager to
try!  In preparation We’d done two four hour runs and I’d done one 26
mile run in the Santa Monica mountains.  My running has been improving
and with coach Garys coaching I felt ready for this adventure.

Every run is a learning experience.  Either helping you realize your
strength, your improving endurance, or a challenge that shows you the
things you need to improve on.  This race was a challenge for me.

I was prepared for the distance but not the terrain. Single track,
rocky, and with 7000 ft elevation gain.  I ran the first four and a
half hours on pace and feeling good.  The views were beautiful and the
technical trail was also beautiful.  We ran over two mountain ridges
and we were on the Pacific Crest Trail when we hit a seven mile
section with loose rocks, no aid stations, and downhill swtchbacks.
This section slowed me up a lot and I could see my time slipping.  I
arrived at the 21.8 mile cut off 5 minutes too late.  I wouldn’t finish
this race today.

I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t disappointed, however, as coach Gary
says,”smooth seas do not make good sailors”

This run gave me the opportunity to evaluate my running and it has
driven me to work on some training aspects I have avoided.  I love
running especially since learning Chi running and adding yoga to my
training.  I feel that every choice we make takes us where we need to
go.  I was where I needed to be. I was doing exactly what I needed to
do. I learned the things I needed to learn to become a better runner
and a stronger person.

I’m going to go back to finish the course in a few weeks.  I need
closure with the mountain.  The message of my experience is never stop
trying.  Learn from the outcome you get and don’t let the fear of
falling short of your goal stop you from going for it.

I’m so grateful for our supportive coaches and the other beach runners
I’ve become close with.  I wouldn’t trade this experience for
Thanks for letting me share my story.

Sindy Seal
Natural Strength Private Training
(310) 689-8931

Ultramarathon Race Report with Gary


He who is not courageous enough to take risks will accomplish nothing in life.
Muhammad Ali

The word courage comes from the old French word corage meaning what is in your heart. It has taken on a modern meaning of bravery or toughness, but its older meaning points to something more richer. That our courage sometimes is not brave, but very emotional, but its always a strong faith in our direction.

I took three runners up to the mountains on Sunday to run 33 miles in Big Bear at the Holcomb Valley Trail Run. 33 difficult miles in the mountains with 7200 feet elevation gain in altitude on challenging terrain that would be exhausting to hike let along run.

Beach Runners Sandy and Sindy both trained with us during the winter and ran the Catalina Marathon for their first marathon. This was an impressive athletic accomplishment because the Catalina Marathon is one of the hardest marathons in the United States: 18/26 miles are uphill with 4100 feet elevation gain. Both these strong women found that they loved running on the natural surfaces of trails.

So when I threw out the idea of training for an ultramarathon, these were the only two Beach Runners who had the courage to attempt something this difficult. Training would mean a significant commitment of trail running for hours and hours every weekend. And power yoga. And our secret nutrition plans.

We ended up spending many weekends together up in the hills of Palos Verdes. We even climbed a mountain (San Jacinto).

And in this time, we became really good friends. I now consider these two remarkable women two of my closest friends.

Coaching is still a learning process for me, and I did what I could to develop training routines, motivational messages, and nutritional guidelines. All the while these two with beautiful beginners minds, followed along to all my training suggestions with strong determination and discipline.
I signed Steve up for the ultramarathon despite his wishes. I knew deep down inside Steve needed a new challenge. He has overcome so much this year by self healing his back injury. Steve has a ton of courage, and has been doing lots of trail running and power yoga this year also, and with a 4:32 at Catalina, I figured he had the ability to do this ultra with no specific training due to his ChiRunning skills.

Overall, my fitness was excellent. I am in the best running shape of my life. My endurance base is off the charts. I’m strong from Power Yoga and hard trail running. Ate extremely well the week before the race. But unfortunately, did not get enough rest.

The five days leading up to the race I did a hard trail run, power yoga, hatha yoga with my teacher, and trained Beach Runners including two yoga sessions. I cannot stress this enough to take it easy the week before race day. I didn’t follow this advice and it affected my race.

The Race

The race started with a five and a half mile climb to a mountain pass. Steve forged ahead of me suggesting I run with him. But I was torn. A dilemna I’ve been thinking about for days now. With me was Sandy, who I had done so many training sessions with, who I had done so much coaching. I reflected back to my prayers that morning with God and my prayer had finished with asking God for the opportunity to help another finish this ultramarathon rather than asking for a fast performance from myself.

Those of you that know me know how important that is for me to help others finish.

The fact is, that to do anything in the world worth doing, we must not stand back shivering and thinking of the cold and danger, but jump in and scramble through as well as we can.
Robert Cushing

So I chose to run with Sandy for a while. Enjoying her efficient pace on a very difficult, rocky, mountainous, and high altitude course, I took my time and conserved my energy. Steve was ahead somewhere and I figured he was taking it easy also. My plan was to run with Sandy to the high point of the course at mile 8 then run hard on the down hills and catch Steve.

I left Sandy at mile 8 after wishing her good luck and began running hard for the next 6 miles. When I passed mile 14, I began slowing down, bogging and couldn’t figure out why.

Then another runner, Lorraine came up behind me, and asked, “How are you doing?”
“Feeling a little tired.”

“Do you have a Goo? You need to eat right away. In fact, you should have been eating this whole course.”

I sucked down my only Goo, and began eating my Garden of Life bar. The fact was, I hadn’t been eating much for the first two hours of the run. Just nibbling at the rest stations. That was insufficient calories for the difficulty of the race I was doing. I needed to be eating every 30 minutes. I thought I could eat every hour. But not on a course this difficult.

So I bonked. Yes it does even happen to coaches. After eating my Goo and Garden of Life bar, I felt a little better and had the energy for a very challenging and rocky downhill section to mile 20. It took 100% concentration to not trip on all the rocks. I almost tripped numerous times, and the one time I did let my mind drift, I ate it, landed on my knee and rolled into a bush. Nothing too serious, brushed myself off, and kept running.

Miles 20-23 were a steep steep fireroad, and so I walked most of it. Lorraine who was faster than me on the uphills, caught up to me and we chatted. I was so amazed on that course that day because everyone I spoke to was the most incredible athlete. Lorraine had done over 70 ultramarathons and had qualified for Boston like 20 times in a row. This is one reason I like doing hard races, because I get to meet amazing athletes who motivate me to accomplish more than what I’m doing.

So Lorraine and I ran together for a while, swapping stories, laughing, enjoying this climb. After another rest station where I should have been eating more, I grinded out a long flat fireroad through the valley from miles 24-27.5. This fireroad seemed to go on forever and forever. I tuned into my metronome shifted into a ChiRunning 1st gear and found my focuses again. Thats the beauty of learning ChiRunning–even when you are tired, you can use your form to keep propelling yourself along.

At the last rest station, I ate one of Sandy’s peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and nibbled on some Pringles. And was relieved to hear that there were only 5.5 miles to go.

A little delirious, I forgot to fill the water bottles on my fuel belt. So was thirsty for the last section. After a two mile climb, the rest of the course was downhill. It was very rocky so I had to completely concentrate, but for me, like Steve and Sandy, it was the most enjoyable part of the course. Especially with this fantastic scenic view of Big Bear Lake.

I came up to the finish line to have Steve and Sindy (you’ll have to hear her story from her) cheering me on across the finish line.

I was passed by a runner the last 50 yards. I simply did not have the energy to race him. Afterwords, he said his race was slow because he had done a 100 mile bike race the day before!!!!! Yikes.

Other than him, I had passed many runners from mile 8 onwards, about 10-15 runners. And no runner had passed me other than my guardian angel Lorraine. So I run according to my plan of taking the first 8 miles easy, then running hard the remainder. That just was not enough to stay up with uber runner Steve that day.

My time: 7 hours 9 minutes. Steve came in 19 minutes ahead of me. So he had an awesome run. I am so proud of him.

About an hour after I came in, Sandy ran to the finish line smiling with tears in her eyes.

Sindy ran a courageous 21 miles but was unable to finish this day. I’ll let her tell her story. But all I want to say is that there is no failure in attempting to do anything as difficult as an ultramarathon, marathon, or half marathon. Less than 1% of the American public ever complete a marathon. So to train for an ultramarathon and run most of a very very difficult course up in the mountains earns my deepest deepest respect and admiration.

Some reflections…

Race Mindset: Not tough enough for me. I spent too much time running with Sandy trying to help her along when she didn’t need my help. I needed to let her run her own race. She was well prepared from my training program, and needed to let her go once the race started.

Also I spent too much time walking hills. Now if you are a first time marathoner or ultramarathoner, you should walk hills. But I had the fitness and the skills from ChiRunning to run many that day that I walked. Read Steve’s race report on how he ran most of the hills that I walked.

In addition, I cannot ever ever give Steve a head start. He is too good a runner to be caught from behind. Lesson learned for Baldy.

A bigger issue for me is to get more courage on race day, a competitive gear, to be able to run hard even when tired. I still need to get tougher. This is something I can work on during my training runs during the week. In fact, this last Tuesday night, I pushed myself hard up three tough PV hills and passed my training partner Matt despite my whole body being fatigued from the ultramarathon. I will need this ability to laser focus on my form even when tired for Baldy. I have the skills from ChiRunning. I have the breathing practice. I just need the mental toughness.

My ChiRunning was essential for finishing this race. I had a lot of speed on the down hills. Using my metronome and taking short strides was essential for keeping my momentum even when I bonked from lack of race day nutrition. I had no pain during the run from any part of my body, fatigue, yes, but no pain. I felt great after the run, walking around like normal. Thats the real benefit of ChiRunning: you can run a 33 mile ultramarathon in the mountains with no injuries, and no pain. As a competitor, I have to keep this in mind sometimes, what a miracle this running system is.

Overall, this was a fantastic weekend for me. I got to spend time with three people I really love. I met new friends. And I helped others finish the race by signing up Steve, and coaching Sandy and Sindy.

The course was beautiful. We saw mountains, valleys, meadows, songbirds, Big Bear Lake, with clean air, and friendly volunteers at every rest station that would even fill our water bottles. We want to think Pam and Gary Kalina for putting this race on for the 11th year in a row. Put your application in early for next year because it fills quickly.

Courage is the first of human qualities, because it is the quality which guarantees all others.
Winston Churchill

Steve, Sandy, and Sindy are such amazing examples of courage to attempt a race as difficult as this one. All three were not afraid to fail. That’s the meaning of courage for me. They trust themselves, their coaches, ChiRunning, Yoga, and God. They know in their hearts that by just coming to the starting line of a hard race is a success.

I can’t wait to go running with them again. They are wonderful inspirational people that I’m lucky enough in this life to get to run with.

God Bless you,



The Beach Runners Ultra Team- Gary, Sindy, Steve, and Sandy

Steve and Gary’s Marathon Training RunCall 2


Another jam packed RunCall from Steve Mackel and Gary Smith including information on:
– our ultramarathon experiences from last weekend
– recovery strategies after a marathon
– plantar fascitis
– learning ChiRunning
– how many miles to run a week
– all natural electrolytes

Click Here to Listen to the Show from 6/13/07

Sandy’s Ultra Marathon Race Report

Sandy enthusiastically tackles largest hill on 33 mile course
I started with Beach Runners last winter and I have been having the time of my life ever since. I’ll start by giving a brief history on my running. Like many other runners, I started running as a way to cope with life’s many challenges. I considered myself to be a walker and had no aspirations to run. It took a major heartbreak 3 years ago to get this lifetime walker to get out and run.

I started running on a treadmill and was only able to last 5 minutes before I had to stop and take a break. Mind you, I wasn’t even running very fast. Slowly, I progressed to 10 minutes, then 15 minutes and I was super stoked when I got up to 30 minutes. I know. I’m easily excited.

Fast forward. You may have already figured out that I am not a natural runner. With that said, instead of training for a 10k, I decided to go for the half marathon instead. I was training on my own using a training plan off the internet. I got up to 8 miles and found that my knees were way too sore and there was no way I was going to run the half marathon without some help.

I remembered reading about the Beach Runners and Chi-Running. The idea of running injury free seemed too good to be true. By this time, I had fallen in love with running and its many benefits, so I emailed Steve and here I am today. I started running with the group in the winter 2006 season and was running pain free within weeks. I read Danny Dreyer’s book religiously and practiced my form constantly. I was even focusing on my posture at work. I didn’t care that I looked like a dork leaning up against the copy machine, while waiting for my job to finish.

Long story short, I have finished two half marathons, a marathon and now my first ultra marathon. I can’t believe that this has all happened within 7 months of starting to train with the Beach Runners.

I felt a bit lost after the Catalina Marathon.  I no longer had a race to train for.  I’m not quite sure when I decided to do the Ultra Marathon, but next thing I know; Gary, Sindy and I were training again.  I logged in many a miles with and without my training partners in the PV hills.  The training I got from Gary when we did run together was priceless.  I also took Gary’s Power Yoga class every chance I got.  He truly did wonders for my mental preparation for this race.
I won’t go into too much detail about the ultra marathon course. Steve described it well in his race report. It was a lot tougher than I had imagined. Many parts of the course were rocky and super technical. Our PV trail runs were great training for this course. I trained hard and I was ready to accept whatever came my way.

I knew going into this race that it was going to be a mental run for me. There was a point on the course where I focused on just putting one foot in front of the other. Miles 21 to 25 were the toughest miles for me. That part of the course almost brought me to tears. I began to debate whether I wanted to continue the race.

I ate every half hour. I sipped on Cytomax and water every 10-15 minutes. I also made sure to grab a few bites at every aid station, even if I didn’t feel all that hungry. The elevation was a concern for me. Luckily, I had no serious reaction to the elevation. I did have some blurred vision at about mile 15. I made sure to hydrate as much as possible at the next aid station and my vision seemed to go back to normal.

I have found that my ability to body sense helped me to run a really fun and safe race. This is definitely one of my favorite aspects of Chi-Running. I ran with several things going on in my head at all times. I focused on having soft feet, relaxed legs, picking up my feet, not pulling and running with my heart out. I also focused on keeping my knees together while running, which helps me to keep my knees down. Thanks Gary for this invaluable tip.

I had a little tinge of pain in my right knee, but I kept my focus on picking up my feet. I have a strong tendency to power run once I get warmed up. I am happy to say that I finished the race strong and with no pain whatsoever. I ran the last 3 miles of downhill with a smile on my face. Chi-Running is the only reason that I was able to run the last three miles of a 33 mile course.

Thanks for letting me share my experience. This has been a spiritual journey for me in so many ways. Little did I know that joining the beach runners would change my life forever? I am thankful for Gary, Steve and all the Beach Runners. I have yet to run with someone in the group that did not have a smile on their face and an enthusiasm for a sport that has turned into an activity that I hope to be doing for the rest of my life.

Truly grateful beach runner,


Sandy comes up on finish line filled with Joy

Steve’s First Ultra Marathon – Race Report

Laury, Sindy, Sandy, Steve, and Gary at Finish Line of Ultramarathon

The truth is that I really didn’t want to do this race. It wasn’t planned, going back to my 2007 race goals. Yet, Gary took the liberty of signing me up and what the heck, I could be spending a Sunday in the mountains or in LA; I’ll take the mountain chi.

I didn’t research the course by looking at maps and elevation gain charts. I tried not to think about it and “just show up.” I did know that it was a up and down 33-mile race, with over 7,000 ft of climbing at altitude. Sunday, I just showed up without expectations. I followed Coach Ilg’s pre-race meditation of remaining relaxed and empty, ready to experience.

Going in all I knew it was going to be a long day, in fact the longest day of racing I have ever put in. Armed with this knowledge I decided to use a different strategy, go easy on the uphills, fly downhill and race the first 20 miles pretty hard. I figured when I hit the wall I could at least walk it home and still be able to add an Ultra Marathon to my resume.

Since I’ll be editing a Runumentry – RunCast this week, I’ll keep this short and you can watch the movie.

This race was technical trail running, rocks everywhere. I almost went down numerous times. This race was absolutely beautiful, pine trees, lakes, mountain meadows and scenic views toward the desert. You get to see a lot over the course of 33 miles. Ultra marathoners are a cool group of friendly people, the volunteers were awesome and race was well organized.

6:50 hours went by at a decent pace. I worked on picking my spots to attack this course. I took a long time at the aid stations, like I would in a century bike ride. I ate about 250 calories an hour along with Enduralytes®. Our MaraYoga training system was key. I used every ChiRunning® technique I teach. I used my metronome most of the day, especially during those miles between 21-27. The last 6 miles were tough and I had a difficult time maintaining even an 85 cadence. Miles 30-33 were harder than I expected, even being downhill. Crossing the finish line felt like a real accomplishment. I ran well enough to finish ahead of Gary, which I didn’t think was possible. Learning to train easy on easy days and harder on hard days this year paid off. And, my base training this year (the best of my life) carried me through without the normal specific training for a race like this. My fitness is strong and I was able to run most of the 33 miles. I figured I only walked about 4 miles total.

The Mental Race

I stayed in the moment as well as I ever have in a race. I didn’t look too far ahead, just step by step over the technical terrain. I thought of almost everyone in my life, carried them with me and received their support. In this Ultra I ended up running miles with no one in sight or to be heard. It truly was my church, alone in nature with God. I prayed, and gave thanks for all the gifts in my life. I ran my race without expectation. I didn’t even wear a watch. Most of the time I had no idea of how long I’d been out or how far I had run. I ran with an attitude of gratitude. I ran with a smile. I ran with an open heart and I ran one of the best races in my life.

No rush to get my next one in. I’ll (in)joy the summer training with the Beach Runners and my friends. Look out Mt. Baldy, I’m feeling good.

Thank all of you for all your kind thoughts.

Namaste and Train Focused, Steve Mackel – Beach Runners Head Coach

We’re off to the Holcomb Valley Ultramarathon


Tomorrow, Saturday, Steve, Sindy, Sandy, and I head off to the mountains to the Holcomb Valley Ultramarathon at Big Bear Lake, CA.

This is Steve’s, Sindy’s, and Sandy’s first ultramarathon and they all seem very excited except for Steve, who I kinda of nudged into running this race. He is in incredible shape so I figure he will do much better than he thinks he will do.

Sindy and Sandy have spend a lot of time with me running trails, coming to yoga class, following some of my nutrition plans, and practicing the Inner Game of Running. You can see the difference this makes in their running and endurance right now. They are both in superb running shape. They have both worked very hard to prepare for this race. I’m really very proud of them both. And am 100% confident that they will finish.

We’re going to need all the good vibes we can get on Sunday. So send us a prayer or two when you’re in church or meditating please.


The course is 33 miles long with over 7000 feet of elevation gain/loss and most of our running will be on either fireroads or single track. And to top it of, we will be running at a high elevation so there will be less oxygen available.

Sounds like my kind of race. Very difficult and very scenic.

I finally bought a new camera tonight as my last one broke after I took it snorkeling then dropped it on the Buffalo Run.

Hence the lack of RunCasts lately. But all that should change very soon. Look for some new video when I return. Especially of our experiences Sunday.

If any of you want to come and cheer us on…please come up to Big Bear on Sunday.

We will start at 7 A.M and I figure we will be coming in to the finish line between 12:30 – 4:00 in the afternoon, depending on how each of us do. So if you want to spend a beautiful day up in the mountains and cheer on your coaches and fellow Beach Runners come join us on Sunday.

Holcomb Valley Ultramarathon with directions

Gary Smith, ChiRunning® Instructor

Do an UltraMarathon with Gary


Calling out all runners looking for a new challenge in their running.

Train with Gary to complete an Ultramarathon.

An Ultra Marathon? You gotta be kidding me!

Actually no. I did an ultramarathon last December, and I can tell you it’s not that hard.

You just need to train for it. You need to do the work. You need to prepare physically, mentally, and spiritually.

I’ve done it. Now think about it. Most of you have run 26 miles. And the Catalina Marathon warriors ran some of the toughest 26 in any race in the world.

I’m proposing you only run 7 miles more. 33 miles total. In Big Bear California. With a lot of the run on the Pacific Coast Trail.

And if that is too much there is a 15 mile trail run that day which will be perfect training for the Beach Runners.

Over the next week I will be putting up a training schedule.

Hopefully you can join me for many of the runs.

1. Wild West Marathon / UltraMarathon
3M, 10M, Marathon, UltraMarathon
Saturday May 5th, 2007

The third oldest trail marathon in the United States after Catalina and Pikes Peak.
Run with the snow covered sierra mountains in the background.

I will be camping and making a weekend out of this trip.

I am undecided if I will run the marathon or ultra this day.
It will be close to race day decision.

2. Holcomb Valley Ultramarathon, Big Bear CA
Sunday June 10th
33 Miles

I figure this will the perfect first ultramarathon for the Beach Runners as it is close to Los Angeles, scenic, and beautiful.

So let me know if you are interested in doing any of these two runs or training with me.

If want to train with me, do yoga classes after runs, get personalized coaching etc, I will be asking for donations to a new scholarship fund that I am starting for Cambodian university students. More details on that to come, but this is a vision I had that needs to be turned into reality.

So if you’re interested please…

email me (replace the AT with @ when you email me)

Training Run Announcement

My first training run will be…

Sunday April 8th
7 A.M.
Three Hour Easy Trail Run
Meet at Trump National Course in Palos Verdes
Bring yoga mats.

Important ChiRunning Information

We have just two days to enroll in our first ChiRunning Workshop/retreat of the year.

It is on Saturday April 7th in beautiful Palos Verdes.

Click here for more details. It’s simply the best thing you can do to improve your running.

RunCast 16 – My First UltraMarathon

Just completed my first ultramarathon in Rodeo Beach which is just north of the Golden Gate Bridge in Marin County. This was a wonderful pilgrimage for me as Danny Dreyer of ChiRunning lived up there for years and spent countless hours on these very trails which I ran. Kind of the birthplace of ChiRunning.

The ultramarathon was 50K which works out to about 32 miles. It was all on trails and as a chirunner/trailrunner, I was in 7th heaven. I love running on dirt, rocks, leaves, pine needles…God’s surfaces.

It was very hilly and parts were technical so it is a difficult 32 miles. Much harder than a road marathon.

Watch the video to see how I did.

The race was very well organized and certainly the best food I’ve ever had at the rest stations. I highly recommend doing a race with this race company.

Pacific Coast Trail Runs

Enjoy the video. Its kind of long just like the run was. Pay attention to what Chuck Wilson, experienced ultramarathoner tells me in the middle of the race that enables me to finish the race strong.

Click here if you have a PC and are having the normal XP problems

Happy New Years

ps I fly off to warmer temperatures (Thailand) for a month Thursday. Take care Beach Runners. I’ll write something from the land of a thousand smiling faces.