Gary’s Catalina Marathon 2008 pt One


Dear Runners,

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).

The Training

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 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….


Comments are closed.