You’re Starting a New Healthy Habit!

Congratulations to all of you who showed up for training two Sundays in a row.  To those of you who came for the first time, welcome; and to those of you who showed up for our first Sunday and missed this past Sunday, we hope you’ll come back.

As we start the season, it’s time to commit to a new habit, a habit that will serve as a metaphor for recovery.

Just like training for a full or half marathon, achieving the goal of long term sobriety means working hard every day, and surrounding yourself with those who support your goal.  It means you get up and show up. It means going the extra mile.  It means not giving up when the going gets tough.  And, when you need support to go the distance, you will have coaches, volunteers and the rest of your team to rely on. We’ll help you on the road to the LA Marathon finish line, and there will be others in your life who will become your support network as you journey beyond Beit T’Shuvah.

And most importantly, it means that because of your efforts, you’ll be able to look back and be proud of what you accomplished out on the Marathon route and in your journey through life.  

You can do this!


Three Cheers! Let’s Celebrate What You Already Accomplished.

Congratulations to each of you for coming out on Sunday for our first training session of the 2017-2018 season.  You already have three reasons to celebrate, three reasons to congratulate yourselves for what you accomplished.

1) You got up and showed up.  Just like in recovery and in life, when we set goals, we have to work hard each day to make them happen.  Getting up before dawn on Sunday can be daunting, but that didn’t stop you.  You got out of bed and out the door.  You took the first big step toward achieving your goal.

2) You chose to believe in yourself.  Even if you’re thinking “I’m not sure I can really do this”, you chose to believe that it’s possible.  Otherwise you wouldn’t have bothered to show up, right?! As I said on Sunday, perhaps today you can’t do a half or a full marathon today, and that’s okay.  If you stick with the training, you will.  On Sunday, we asked you to walk two miles, and you did it. 

3) You joined a supportive community: The journey between now and the day you cross the finish line will be challenging, but, like so many of life’s challenges, you can achieve success by enjoying the support of those around you who care.  And that’s us.  The coaches, the volunteers, and your teammates will all be there for you.  We will lift your spirits when the going gets tough, and celebrate with you as you enjoy your many successes on the way to your big goal.  Together we will succeed. 


-Coach Leslie

Congratulations, and 10 answers to “Now what”?

 If your legs are sore, welcome to the club!  With each effort to walk up or down stairs, or get up from a chair, think of your legs telling you “We worked hard and you did an awesome job!”  Congratulations to each and every one of you.  You have an accomplishment you can be proud of for the rest of your life.  You worked hard.  You earned it.  You have proof that you can take on difficult challenges, and work hard week after week to achieve your goals.

So now, what?  I’m going to give you some physical as well as mental tips:

  1. Take it easy. Rest today.  Rest tomorrow.  When you’re ready to start back into running or walking, take it slowly.  Listen to your legs.
  2. Eat more protein for the next few days. Your muscles need it!
  3. A few extra glasses of water each day for the next few days will help your body get back into balance.
  4. Rebuild your glycogen stores with some extra good carbs for a day or two.
  5. Celebrate your accomplishment. Put your bib and/or medal some place where you’ll see it often.
  6. Thank those and remember those who helped you get there – your teammates, the volunteers, the BTS staff, your donors, those who came out to support you on race day. They all came together for you because you matter.
  7. Think about the meaning of what you accomplished. How much of training for the Marathon is just like preparing for sobriety and the rest of your life?
  8. Plan your next goal. Now that you know what you can accomplish, how do you want to harness that power to achieve your next goal? 
  9. Start looking forward to Marathon Shabbat. We’ll all come together again soon (date TBD) to celebrate our success, each other, and our teamwork, and to recognize those who made it possible.  It will be a day of great pride and memories.
  10. Consider joining the team again next year. You can be a role model of success and you can inspire others.


Making the Most of Your Marathon Experience


It’s almost here, the day you have spent months training for.  I encourage you to “be in the moment” for every moment of that special day.  There will be so much to absorb and appreciate. 

The crowd support will be amazing.  There will literally be thousands of people lining the streets.  People will have inspirational signs, funny signs, words of encouragement. Notice them. Read them.  Appreciate them.  My two favorites are “The only reason your feet hurt is because you’re kicking ass” and “Touch here for energy”.  When I’m hot and tired, I always tap those signs as I go by, smile at the person holding it, and actually feel recharged.  There will be places along the course with people waiting to give you a high five. You’ll feel great as you run past these people, and get a dozen or so high fives as total strangers cheer you on.  

If you’re walking/running with music, I would encourage you to take out one earbud, or lower the volume, from time to time.  Listen to the sounds of people cheering you on.  Enjoy the bands along the course, and  the music blaring from speakers that people have set up along the way.  Hear the thousands of footsteps of your fellow runners all working hard just like you.  Strike up a conversation with a random runner and share stories.  Be a part of the experience!

Take the time to enjoy the different vibes of the many neighborhoods you’ll be passing through – Chinatown, Thai Town, Hollywood, West Hollywood, Rodeo Drive, and the Westside, to name a few. Notice the changes in the architecture, signs, scenery, and people.  You’ll be on a human powered tour of a world famous city, experiencing it with your whole body.

Remember, of course, to look inward too.  It will be tough, but you’ll be thinking “I know I can do this.  I have the power to keep going.  I take on challenges and I succeed.” Your body will be pumped with endorphins.  You’ll be out there with a natural high. With every step you will have more to be proud of.  You will be another step closer to achieving the goal you have worked so hard for.  

March 19, 2017 will be a day you’ll always remember!

A Look into Your Future

The Marathon is a metaphor for life and for your recovery.

It’s about accepting a challenge when you may not believe you can do it, then succeeding and realizing that you have many reasons to believe in yourself.
It’s about setting goals and sticking to them.
It’s about working hard to get what you want.
It’s about looking inside to find the strength to keep going when the going gets tough.
It’s about asking for and accepting help when you need it.
It’s about being there for others when your teammates need support.
It’s about making time for your physical, emotional, and spiritual health.

That’s what each of you has been doing for the last six months. I am so proud of you all for what you are accomplishing. You have the power to succeed not just on March 19, but in the rest of your life too.

Congratulations to all! You have a lot to be proud of.


The Countdown Begins – What to Expect Over the Next 3 Weeks

A big high five to all of you who came out to do the distance today in the light rain. Felt good, didn’t it? To those of you who couldn’t make it, and/or didn’t do last week’s long run, please talk to Anna or me so we can customize a training plan for you for the rest of the season.

In order to be ready for Marathon Day, you need to be, in the words of renowned running coach Jack Daniels PhD, “peaked and well rested”. If you’ve been training consistently, you’ve peaked. You can all do the distance you’ve been training for. Now it’s time to start cutting back on the distance, maintaining your strength and conditioning, while giving your body time to rest and rebuild. It’s now time to start the “taper phase” of our training season.

Weekly mileage will get shorter. The Sunday run will be shorter next week for the Marathoners – 14 miles on March 5, and 8 miles the Sunday after that. Half Marathoners will hold at 10 miles for next Sunday, and cut back to 6 miles on the Sunday before the Marathon. The midweek runs during that last week will be much shorter, with no more speed/power workouts.

A few recommended action items:
1) If you will be starting from Dodger Stadium, get some warm throwaway clothes or a blanket at the BTS Thrift Store so you can stay warm as you wait for the marathon to begin.
2) Avoid injury. Roll, stretch, and do NOT run/walk through any pain. If you are experiencing any discomfort when you run or walk, please see Anna or make an appointment with Liddy Health & Fitness.
3) Eat extra protein. Your muscles have been working hard. Help them rebuild.

And most importantly, reflect on how far you’ve come in the last 5 months. You worked hard. You achieved a lot. And, you are just a few weeks away from achieving your big goal. It will be an experience that will prove to you that with hard work, self-discipline, and support from the people around you, you can achieve huge goals.

Go Team!!!

A Heartfelt Thank You to Each of You


Congratulations to each of our team members who completed our “prove to yourself that you can do this” experience on Sunday. This was our longest run before Marathon Day. I hope this was a meaningful experience for each you. You each have your own reasons, and your own plan; and on Sunday you all got to where you wanted to be.  That’s a lot to be proud of, whether it’s the marathon, your recovery, or your journey through life.  I’d like to take this opportunity to let you, our team, know what your accomplishments and hard work mean to me, and how grateful I am to be part of this experience.


At the beginning of each season, I see team members from prior years once again showing up because they believe in the team and what it stands for.  They understand the power of community, that they can inspire others, that they can make a difference.  I also see all the new team members. Most have never done long distances before, or if they have, it was ages ago.  I can sense the feeling of “Can I really do this?”  I see people who don’t know each other, and know that some feel isolated and alone.


Over time, I watch people connect with each other and make new friends.  I see people high-fiving their teammates as they pass along the route.  I see supportive comments on our Facebook page.  I see people offer to go on midweek runs with each other.  I see us building our own community.  Those “Can I really do this?” comments start becoming “This is the farthest I’ve ever done.”  “I never thought I would be in a marathon.” “I know I can do this.” People are learning what they can accomplish by committing to a goal, accepting help from our Marathon Team community, and working hard; and they are believing in themselves.  The feelings of doubt and isolation are turning into feelings of community, empowerment, and pride.


It is also amazing to me to see how much BTS support we get.  Anna and Nicole don’t get paid extra to support the team.  This is all volunteer work on their part, and they’ve done an amazing job getting everyone and everything where they need to be when they need to be there, and offering encouragement along the way. Amy’s cooldown sessions, and personalized fitness advice have helped many, including myself. They, along with all of the volunteers who are there to cheer us on and staff our “recharge” stops, are absolutely critical to our success. I am also thankful to all of the BTS staff and community who are supporting us behind the scenes and will be there for us at the Block Party on Marathon Day.


Watching and listening to all of this happen makes my Sunday mornings the most meaningful part of my week. Your hard work, dedication, and success is my reward.  I am grateful to each of you for all that you’ve done over the last five months, and will continue to do until Marathon Day and beyond.  You’ve created memories that will always stay with me.   Thank you.



This Sunday Will Be Our “Yes I Can Really Do This” Day, and Thank You Volunteers!

If you’re at all nervous about the fact that the schedule says next Sunday’s route is 12 miles for the Half Marathoners and 20 miles for the Full Marathoners, welcome to the club.  That’s a long distance, and when it’s the first time you’ve taken on that challenge, it can be daunting. That’s why approaching it with the right mindset can make a huge difference.

You don’t have to think about it as a 12 or a 20 mile run.  We will be having rest stops roughly every four miles; and you can all do four miles, no problem.  You just need to do it 3 times if you are a half marathoner and 5 times if you are a full marathoner.

All kidding aside, those rest stops are there for a reason.  It’s your opportunity to recharge your body as well as your mind.  When you get to each stop, be sure to hydrate well with both Gatorade and water.  Also, starting at the second stop, have a GU at each stop.  Take a break; walk around a bit; stretch.  Chat with the volunteers and your fellow runners/walkers. Celebrate your success.  You’ve made it this far.

In between the rest stops, listen to your body. Pace yourself.  Slow down or walk if you need to.  It’s not a race.  This is about finding the pace that’s right for you.  Also, if you do start to feel sharp pain anywhere, please get yourself to the nearest rest stop and wait for a ride back.

As you run/walk from stop to stop, I also encourage you to focus your mind on the positive. Look inside to find the strength to keep going; it’s in there.  Visualize yourself achieving your goals.  Think about how far you’ve come.  Think about how hard you’ve worked.  Recognize how much you can accomplish when you dream big and work hard.

You can also look outside yourself for inspiration.  See the crowds along the sides rooting for you. And, as you get close to the rest stops, take your earphones out. Hear the volunteers cheering you on.  They put a smile on my face every time I feel their energy and encouragement.

Thank you volunteers!  We couldn’t do this without you.


Four Noteworthy “News” that Happened Today

There was a lot of positivity that came out of today’s training, and I’d like to share that with each of you.


  • New Highs: With an 11 mile day for the half marathoners and 18 miles for the full marathoners, a lot of people hit new mileage highs. Think how far you’ve come since September when 4-5 miles seemed difficult.  If you can achieve this seemingly impossible goal, what else can you achieve in life when you put in the effort?!


  • New Insights: Several people made comments to me about what they were learning about their running and how they had improved. While I can give all sorts of general advice about what to eat, when to drink, how fast to go, etc., only you know what works best for you. And, you can only learn that through trial and error. So many of you are doing that.  I heard several comments about how people were experimenting and realizing that what they had eaten or drank helped, what they thought they needed to do more of, that they had figured out how to carry what they needed, that they were getting better at pacing themselves, and/or that they were willing to take it easy because they were starting to feel pain and contact Liddy Health & Fitness for additional injury prevention guidance .  You’re getting better at listening to your bodies, taking care of them, and figuring out how to do your best.  Awesome!


  • New Faces: We had some new volunteers as well as new team members join us today.  Welcome!!!  We’re so glad you joined us and we look forward to your continued participation.  Whether you are handing out drinks and snacks, or running/walking with us, you are adding to the team spirit and a feeling of camaraderie.  It means a lot, especially as our distances get longer. Thanks.


  • New Midweek Training Schedule: Joel, one of our newest team members, volunteered to lead mid-week runs every Tuesday and Thursday at 3:00 pm, and Amy will be part of the Tuesday run as well.  If that’s a time that works for you, please consider joining these group training sessions.  As our distances get longer, midweek training gets more important.  Your cardiovascular system can adjust quickly to increasing distance, but your joints and muscles need more time. Regular midweek training is necessary for pain-free and injury-free long Sunday distances.  We want to see each of you make it to Marathon Day and finish strong.


Thanks to each of you for your hard work and support for each other.



When Life Hits You with the Unexpected, or a Rainy Sunday

Saturday evening’s forecast for Sunday wasn’t looking like running weather, unless you have really good rain gear or just aren’t bothered by being wet and cold.  So, we cancelled Sunday’s training.  This late in the season, it’s not a good idea to miss a long run; but just like the rest of life, things don’t always go the way you hope.


Does that stop us?  No!!!  We can tackle the challenge immediately in front of us; or we can find an alternate way to achieve our goals.  Both are great options.  Which one are you choosing?


For those of you who ran on your own in the rain anyway today, good for you.  I hope you were dressed well enough for the experience to be comfortable and pleasant.  I put on a warm hat, wore rain gear over my shorts and team shirt, and headed out the door.  Because the jacket has zippers along the sides to allow ventilation, I wasn’t too sweaty under my jacket.  Unfortunately, my rain pants don’t have those zippers, so my legs did feel wet.  However, not a drop of cold rain got through, and I was comfortably warm as long as I was moving.  It was actually quite invigorating and I enjoyed seeing other runners out there in the rain.  I’m glad to know that if the forecast is for rain on Marathon Day, I’ll be ready for it, and that I can give you some tips that are based on real world experience.


For those of you who didn’t venture out in the storm, I recommend some changes to the midweek training plan.  If you have the time on Monday to do the full distance (10 for half marathoners, 15 for full marathoners), go for it.  Make Tuesday a rest day; and scale back the distance on the threshold run for Wednesday.  If you don’t have the time on Monday for the full distance, try to do a run that is a challenge in the time you do have available.  Include a few miles at a faster pace and/or add some short fast sprints.  Then, see above for Tuesday and Wednesday. Keep up the midweek training; challenge yourself; and you’ll stay strong.


I missed you all this morning, and I look forward to seeing you all at next Sunday’s training.