Monday, July 8, 2019

July 4th 2019 Mt. Baldy

We decided to spend the mornings hiking on this holiday. We are very lucky to live close to some of the best trails in southern California. The Iconic Mt San Antonio Aka Mt Baldy; the Dome which on a clear day can be seen from just about anywhere in So Cal. When we arrived at Manker Flats the trailhead the parking area was already full. There was going to be plenty of company on the mountain today.

The valley below was overcast, but not a cloud in sight as we began the trek to the summit. We decided to ascend on the ski hut route then loop back by the backbone trail and the fire road. Just over 9 Miles. 

Can you see the ski hut in the distance? 

Plenty of others on the Summit 

10,069' above sea level 

We enjoyed the view then headed down by way of the devils backbone.

We made it back down the mountain and back home safe, to find out that while we were hiking there was a 6.4 Earthquake in Ridgecrest Ca that was felt throughout the valley. Another beautiful morning spent doing what we enjoy; spending time together in nature.

2019 Holcomb Valley Trail Run

Last month on June 15 Tanya broke out our trail shoes and headed up into the mountains. Big Bear to be exact to run the Holcomb Valley Trail Race. We have run the Ultra distance there a few times in years past; but this year we decided to run the 15 miler. The sun was shining and the temperatures began to rise early! The views of Big Bear lake were stunning and the snow on the distant peaks in the middle of June was special to see!

Another fun day spent together, doing what we really enjoy; running and hitting the trails.

Thursday, May 16, 2019

My Year Long Journey: A Physique Story: July 4th 2018

As I contemplate whether to compete in the Muscle Beach Bodybuilding and Physique competition in Venice Beach California again; I thought it would also be a good time to share my story or should I say my Year Long Journey to last years July 4th competition.

Sometime in April 2017 I was talking to my cousin Clint Johnson and he challenged me to find and compete in a California bodybuilding competition.  He said, he and his wife Paulette would make it a California bodybuilding vacation. He wanted to show his younger cousin “How to do it”, he was feeling very confident after placing in a few East coast events; I could hear the bravado in his voice. So, I didn’t say yes at that moment; I needed to think about it. I knew what challenge lied ahead for me if I accepted his challenge! The weight training wasn’t going to be the hard part, I’m a health coach a marathoner and trail runner! Training and working out is part of who I am! But to lean down into single digit percentage body fat to show case lean muscular development was going to be the bear; the all-encompassing commitment day in day out to deprive yourself, to sacrifice. That was going to be the hard part; was I willing to go through that; in the past I had tried and failed. So, I said let me think about it and I will get back to you.  Participating in a bodybuilding or a physique competition was a bucket list type of event for me, so I started looking for events and began talking to Tanya about it.
Tanya was of course in right away, she told me she would help me and support me if I stayed committed. If you didn’t already know my wife Tanya was once a competitive bodybuilder, earning  the title of Miss Bermuda. She knew what it was going to take and how to get there! After a short search we chose the date of July 4th, 2018 the Venice Muscle Beach competition, the Mecca, the Birthplace of bodybuilding.
I called Clint and told him “I am in! let’s do this!” The date of July 4th gave us both just over a year to prepare, so no excuses, put up or shut up! We made a friendly wager, whoever placed higher had to buy the other dinner at a spot of their choosing.


July 2017 the Journey begins :Weight 215 lbs. 19% Bodyfat


July 4, 2018 Competition Day: Weight 164 lbs. 9% Bodyfat

 Master’s Physique (Over 45)

Master’s Physique (Over 45)

Clint and I about to get "Pumped" in the staging area.

Feeling the Heat

Morning Preliminaries

Afternoon Finals

What a day! What an experience! In my category there where six competitors; in the end I placed sixth, the top five were awarded. That of course was a little disappointing but it is all about size and peaking at the right time. I was as they say in bodybuilding a little "Flat" in the prelims. After eating during the break my body seemed to peak and "Tighten" up for the Finals; but my competition had a little more size and development. 
Clint competed in a different category and age group than I. He was in the bodybuilding category (Over 50) with five competitors ;he walked away with fifth place. 

Post event sporting our hardware..

The next day we headed to a resort in Palm Springs for some fun and relaxation; which was well deserved. Clint paid for dinner 😄 wink wink. Vacation time!

The Ladies showing off their stuff pool side!

I couldn't have done it without Tanya's support, she is my Rock! 

Time to get back to the drawing board. Work, train, eat, sleep in that order, then do it again.

Sunday, March 31, 2019

Plenty of Snow

On Saturday morning April 23rd Tanya and I woke up extra early and said to each other Mt. Baldy is calling! So we decided to go hiking. Our local mountains have had so much snow this year we knew making it to the summit was out of the question; but a fun brisk walk to the Notch was just what we needed. We made it to the Manker Flats trail head just after 6:30 am the morning sky was already bright and many other hikers where preparing for fun. Getting out doors and experiencing nature and all of its glory is so refreshing and soul cleansing.

The temperature was a chilling 32 degrees at the start but the forecast predicted that the temperatures would rise into the 50's so we dressed in layers. This would allow us to shed as needed as the temperatures began to rise. The fire road was clear and free of snow until the last half mile or so then it was completely ice and snow covered to the notch.

The sun was shining so brightly and the sky was clear and blue, millions of people in the valley had no idea of the fun we were having above the clouds.

It took us about 1 hour and 15 minutes to make it to the "Notch". Plenty of people had ridden the ski lift to the there to spend the day having fun in the snow. I think most of the ski runs were open, people were sledding, skiing, snowboarding, and hiking like us.

That's the top of the ski lift hut in the background which ascends the mountain from the parking lot above Manker Flats. 

The outlook form the "Notch" that's the Mount Baldy Dome in the background on super clear days you can often see Catalina Island. We went inside for a short rest, sat by the wood burning stove to warm up and shared a nice cup of hot chocolate.
Time to head back down the trail. Until next time get outside and have some all natural fun.
Marc and Tanya

Sunday, March 10, 2019

Bermuda Triangle Challenge 2019

In January Tanya and I traveled to Bermuda to participate in the Bermuda Marathon Weekend. The weekend consists of four races. The first of the three is on Friday night "The Front Street Mile", the second is Saturday morning which is the "Bermuda 10K run and Walk", and the third and fourth race is held Sunday morning which are the "Bermuda Half and Full Marathon". If you are up for a challenge the organizers also offer the "Bermuda Triangle Challenge" which includes the Front Street Mile, the Bermuda 10K ,and either the Bermuda Half marathon or the Full Marathon. Three days of running bliss. Of course Tanya and I signed up for the challenge. We did opt for the Half Marathon challenge, maybe a few years ago we would have run the Marathon but not this time! We arrived on the Island Wednesday afternoon the 16th, this gave us sometime to settle;see and spend a little time with family.
Race headquarters was at the Hamilton Princess which is located in town. Check in was held Friday I believe it was noon to 6 pm. The Front Street Mile start was walking distance from the hotel and was set to begin at 7 pm. Tanya and I arrived at the hotel around 4:00 to pickup our bibs and our t-shirt, we planned to hang out there and walk to the start. The atmosphere was buzzing with energy. Everyone was smiling and happy I could just tell is was going to be a fun weekend. The pick up was well organised and went smoothly,they had plenty of signs and helpful people. To our surprise we received four t-shirts each; one for each race plus a Triangle challenge shirt, all quality running shirts. I thought that was awesome!
Race time! Beyond having a great time and finishing the challenge, we had time goals for each event. For the mile we wanted to go under eight minutes, the 10K under one hour and the 1/2 marathon under two hours.
The Front Street Mile is such and awesome event!, I think the entire Island comes out to support the runners. Throughout the year they have qualifying across the island for the local runners which include primary, middle, and senior school students; local adults male and female categories and invited elite runners.  Tanya and I have witnessed the fun in the past as spectators but never participated. 

What a fun and organised family event, the challenge has exploded into a popular draw. The runners were separated into color coded corrals, I believe they we done randomly. Fist race done, first goal achieved Tanya ran 7 minutes and 29 seconds and I ran 7 minutes and 14 seconds. Time to eat and hydrate we would be back at it in only a few hours. The finish medal was beautiful.

Saturday morning came quickly, the 10K start and finish was at the National Stadium and sports centre. Paula and Zina made sure we got there on time and would be our personal cheering section. What a beautiful morning it was.We were about to find out if our training was enough, back to back training runs are on thing but back to back races are another. It was quickly apparent it was going to be a very warm on this run. The Bermuda sun was shining and the humidity was rising, but Tanya and I persevered.

Second day, second race finished, second goal achieved! I finished the 10K in 56 minutes and 44 seconds and Tanya finished in 56 minutes and 35 seconds. She dropped me on that final hill climbing back to the National Stadium. A second beautiful medal received. Another well organized and supported event, the participant numbers were high, and the scenery along the course was outstanding. 

Back home to rest and hydrate. Later in the evening Sherry's house was to be the location of the Pasta Party. We needed to replenish our glycogen storage centers with a great carbohydrate heavy meal. A little red wine to relax the mind and body might help also; but just a little.  
After the party we made it another early night, and the morning came quickly, we can't thank Zina enough for being our transportation throughout the weekend challenge. The 1/2 marathon start and finish were in Hamilton and on Front Street once again.

Day three, third and final race of the Bermuda Triangle Challenge. Tanya and I were feeling good, it was another beautiful Bermuda morning. Having run the full marathon previously Tanya and I knew what we were in for; an absolutely beautiful but challenging course.   Our plan was to start at a moderate pace and try to run a negative split. I think any day you are able to get out and run is a good day; and it was. The energy was fantastic, everyone seemed to be happy and enjoying themselves, the course was full of spectators which added to the excitement. We had family cheering for us at multiple locations along the course! The way the course is designed they were able to move to multiple mile markers and keep us energized and on purpose. Sherry, Pam, Paula, Zina, Kenisha, Mahtorrie, and other family and friends we can't thank enough for supporting and encouraging us throughout the entire weekend!
Fast forward to the finish, third race done, third goal not achieved. Early on we were on pace to run a sub two hour time, but as the miles increased by so did our pace. In the end I finished in 2 hours and 9 minutes and Tanya finished in 2 hours and 8 minutes. Goal not achieved but that didn't diminish the fun we had running and experiencing the beautiful landscape and beautiful people of Bermuda!

Bermuda Triangle Challenge finished, a third and fourth beautiful medal received! One for the 1/2 marathon and one for finishing the Triangle challenge. If you run for the medals, this is the race weekend for you!
Until next time, thanks for reading and we will see you out there on the roads and trails.
Marc and Tanya