Catalina Marathon 2007 – One of My First Race Videos, One of My Favorite Races started January 1, 2006. Gary Smith and I wanted to produce as much video content as possible. Way back then video was just starting to happen. The picture was usually very pixelated. None of this HD or full screen stuff. The tiny little video window was almost depressing but we knew it would improve quickly. Even in it’s old format it looks better today than when I first posted it.

It was originally posted on Blip.TV but I recently found out they deleted the file. I had to go back to my oldest hard drive, a whopping 160 GB. I felt lucky to find it. The format is original 2007, iMovie 6.

In 2007, the Catalina Marathon ran out of space on the morning boat from Avalon to Two Harbors so we had to charter a slow, cold fishing boat. We met some great people as we spent almost 2 hours on that boat getting to the starting line. It was foggy until we got to mile 16. I can’t even explain the beatuy of the island or the feeling running into Avalon for the first time you do this race. No buffaloes that year, just the race of my life, across the island, a super challenging course, struggling up the hills and flying down hill. I knew I had accomplished something, I ran a 4:33:08. The Catalina Marathon isn’t always about your finishing time but the fact you finished. A must do race.

Back then the Sole Runners were the Beach Runners. That explains all the Beach Runners shirts. You can see some of our long time Sole Runners and mentors like Bill, Keith and John. Kristen came 3rd in her AG in the 10k.

This is just another part in my Catalina Marathon series as I get psyched for the race this March.

Train Focused, Steve Mackel – 5 Time Catalina Marathon Finisher

Upcoming So Cal ChiRunning Workshops – January, February and March 2014

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It is Race Season. The Surf City Marathon and Half Marathon are Super Bowl Sunday weekend. You also have the Redondo Beach 10k and other races. In fact, for the next few months are some of the best races in So Cal.

Would you like to make those races easier, faster and recover faster? Learning ChiRunning can help you with all your upcoming runs.

  • Learn how to reduce braking forces.
  • Learn how your running posture can effect your running.
  • Learn how many steps to take per minute.
  • Learn why all this is important with a ChiRunning lesson.

I am offering a One-Day ChiRunning workshop in January, February and March. I still have spaces available for this Sunday. If you are interested, please email me at

For all the details, check out my ChiRunning Workshops web page by clicking on the logo below:

Train Focused, Steve Mackel ChiRunning Master Instructor


The Famous Catalina Marathon – Saturday, March 15, 2014 – A Weekly Retrospective

Ok friends, I am going to post weekly about my favorite race in So Cal – the Catalina Marathon. I ran it consecutively for 5 years. I took the last two years off but I will be back this year.

This is one of the most beautiful races I have ever run. You start at Two Harbors and work your way across the ranges to Avalon. It is tough. It is mostly on trails and forget about a PR. Just finishing is an accomplishment. The next step is an ultra.

Here’s a Catalina Marathon video from 2011. This is just some of what you can expect, except my corny-ness:

For a special discount code, please email me at

Train Focused, Steve Mackel – RRCA Marathon Coach

Taking Time to Zone In – Mindful Monday by Danny Dreyer

As a ChiRunning Instructor I run 5 to 7 days a week. For many years now I have been telling people to start “Zoning In, instead of Zoning Out.”

I get it, running can put you in a different place, let you escape your problems, or think of solutions. Running gets the endorphins flowing and in a matter of minutes or miles something change, usually for the better.

Some people like to think when they run, Some people like to put on the headphones, crank some of their favorite music and and get away and zone out. I get it.

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But, let’s take a few moments to feel whats going on while we run. Let’s take a few moments to focus on just one thing for a while. I almost always take time do this while I run. Not every moment of every run but large chunks of my runs. On your next marathon or half marathon training run take a few moments to focus on what you are feeling. Pick one thing to focus on like how your feet are landing or listen to your breathing. Below Danny Dreyer offers some ideas to help you “Body Sense” as we call it in ChiRunning.

Here’s your Mindful Monday Challenge for the week: When you’re running or walking, is your energy in your head (thinking, day dreaming, planning etc.) or is it directed towards sensing and feeling your body? There are times for both, even within the same run. Some days it’s great to go out for a run and think about issues you’re trying to resolve. Other days it is important to focus on improving your running technique. But, there should always be some part of every run dedicated to sensing your body and observing how it’s moving; what feels right about it; what could use improving. The more you make the effort to use your mind to observe your body, the more you connect the two; and the greater chances you have of unifying your movement. Take the time this week to momentarily drop out of your thoughts and just sense your body. Listen carefully to what it’s trying to tell you. This is also a good way to listen to people… just reside in your body and allow their words to effect you. Try it both and let us know how it works for you.” – Danny Dreyer, Founder of ChiRunning®

If ChiRunning interests you or you are interested in ChiRunning lessons, please email me at Steve@MarathonTraining.TV and check out

Train Focused, Steve Mackel – Master ChiRunning Instructor

Christina of Pasadena Interviews Mr. Rose Bowl

Christina of Pasadena is a blog that highlights all sorts of things about Pasadena. Christina is also a fitness instructor at Breakthru Fitness with me. Recently she asked to interview me for a post she was writing about all the cool fitness opportunities in and around the Rose Bowl. She went on to name me “Mr. Rose Bowl” because I train there a lot and that’s quite an honor.

It was fun to be interviewed about my home away from home. Check it out:

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Click Here to Read the Rest of the Article

If you have never trained in the Rose Bowl area, check it out. It is a fun, safe place to train doing pretty much whatever activity you like to do.

Thanks Christina!

Train Focused, Steve Mackel – aka “Mr. Rose Bowl”

Great Race of Agoura Hills – A Race to Check Out, A Race to Run!

The Great Race of Agoura Hills is a race I have never run. I’ve been out there and cheered on runners. I know the area well because I grew up near there and used to ride my bike in those hills. Now our Newbury Park Sole Runners train just a few miles away. It really is one the races in their backyard. Now it’s time to run the Cheseboro Half (mostly on trails). But, they have other cool races the same day: The Pacific Half Marathon, The Denna Kastor 5k and The Old Agouga 10k. Use the link to check out the Great Race of Agoura Hills web site.

great race

Another thing I need to do is make a video of this race. There are also some first time Sole Runners Half Marathoners running it. I always love to be at a race with first time Sole Runners finishing their first race. It is the most rewarding part of my job. If you read this today, 1/16/14, you can save $10 before the prices go up tomorrow. Let’s do this!

189940_1715113994890_4106870_nCoach Steve with Stacey and Brian at the Great Race of Agoura when they just started racing back in 2011

Train Focused, Steve Mackel – Head Coach Sole Runner Full and Half Marathon Training Programs

Training with Parkinson’s Disease – Every Thurday in Pasadena at 11 AM until the LA Marathon’s 5k

For the last 4 years I have been training a group of primarily walkers, some runners, many of them with Parkinson’s Disease. The program is a FREE 10 week program that gets us ready for the LA Marathon 5k. Some of us use it as a fundraiser for Team Parkinson. The video above is from last year’s training.

We stared our Fifth year of training last week. I want to share the details in case you are interested in joining us or know someone who might be interested in our training. Like the past 4 years, we are training for LA Marathon 5k on Saturday, March 8 2014. Some of our participants may run the LA Marathon or the Charity Relay on Sunday, March 9, 2014. You don’t need to be training for the race to join us.

We meet every Thursday, at 11 AM from January 16, to March 5. We meet at Lot K which is located on the corner of Seco and West Dr. (see map below). You can show up any or every Thursday and there are no requirements except that you have a friendly attitude.

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This program is open to anyone who wants to join us and it is free. Each week we start of with exercises and the ChiRunning/ChiWalking® Body Looseners. Then we walk / run for a pre-determined amount of time around the Rose Bowl. We are usually done by 12:30 PM at the latest.

This has been a great opportunity for me to work side-by-side with Parkinson’s patients, care-givers, family members, friends and people that just want some exercise.

The most important thing I have learned from leading this group is the importance of exercise. It not only can slow the progression of a disease like Parkinson but it helps every person. And the research proves it.

As an extra added benefit is Sarah’s coffee and snacks each week. If you are interested or know anyone who might like to join us please email me at

Train Focused, Steve Mackel – Team Parkinson Member and Coach

108 Sun Salutations – Part 2 – My Intentions / Goals Are Set


We finished up the 108 Sun Salutations last Thursday night with 27 B series to start and 27 A Series to finish. Once again my arms were toast, once again my mat was covered with sweat even though the room temp never got higher than 72 degrees. I feel great today.

The groups rocked it. Trust me this is a tough practice. I am always surprised how few gym members actually show and the group that does tend to be endurance athletes.

Last night we set our 2014 intentions and goals. We wrote them them and sealed them in 9 times last night. We talked about how to attain success and we shared one of our goals for accountability.

After 5 years of doing this I feel great again. I feel renewed. I feel fresh and ready to take on these challenges.

Thank you everyone that showed over the last two Thursdays. Thank you for the support and thank you for your effort.

2014 better watch because we are coming after ya! I’m thinking Summer Equinox for the next 108 Sun Salutations.

For more information on setting clear and defined goals check out this post:

Train Focused, Steve Mackel – Yogi

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 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 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

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