Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Nicholas Harrell

I just got back from the gym where I learned my favorite spin instructor Nicholas Harrell died in his sleep Sunday night. He was 32 years old. No one knows why yet but think it was congenital. I found this picture of him on Facebook ... God, I feel heartsick. I didn't know him outside of the gym but I loved his class. He played the best music, had an awesome positive attitude and inspired me to work hard. His class was the only one where I rode front row and center because I knew his energy would push me to new heights when I "locked in" to his rhythm; he was my Seabisquit. Today was an emotional spin. Amy, Equinox's fitness manager and today's instructor, was moved to tears as she shared the news. The class felt heavy and united. I spun from my heart, from my soul, in honor of a young man who died too soon but whose life lives on in me. I wish I would've told him how much his class meant to me. I wish he knew that when I thought I couldn't push any harder I would, because he did. I wish he knew the strength and power I felt in class that I'd carry with me throughout my day. I wish he knew the gratitude I felt knowing I could count on him to be there, every time. More importantly, I wish I would've told him these things when I could have. Today, I learned not to hold back my appreciation just because I barely know someone. Everyone wants to know their significance despite the fact they'd never admit it. Thank you Nicholas for being a beautiful teacher in my life.


Dr. Anthony Mistero said...

Reading this post, I thought of similar situations in my own life. People I would have liked to thank, to tell them that I loved them dearly, but I didn't. I hesitated, out of shyness, out of stupidity, out of sheer foolishness. Then, living forever thereafter with the sour taste of regret.

There is only one time in life, for doing everything that matters: NOW. Now is when miracles happen, now is when the wheel of life can take a turn to new directions.


Now is Magic. The only magic there is. And it is enough, if one knows how not to miss it.

Anonymous said...


Thank you very much for sharing. I was actually a friend of Nick's from High School. We have been out of touch but when I found out the news of his death I was devestated. Nick was such a passionate soul & I'm glad that he touched your life & I know many others. He was such a free spirit & really followed his dreams & heart. I wish you the best & will continue to read your blog.

Carrie Socia

Anonymous said...

Hi Michelle,

I also didn't know Nick outside of the gym. While I always remembered to thank him for his class or say simple "great class". What I never got to tell him was how much I appreciated the effort he put into his classes - the music, the pacing of the ride and his energy. His was indeed a rare, caring, sweet, peaceful guy.

I will truly miss his warm presence.


Anonymous said...


I would also like to thank you for sharing your heartfelt and eloquent thoughts about Nick. I’ve had a difficult time since learning about his death. He and I grew up a couple houses down from each other, but had drifted apart over the last few years. Your insights about taking the time to let people know what they mean to you mirror my own feelings of guilt at having not kept in touch with Nick.

Growing up, Nick was good at nearly everything he tried, so I’m not surprised he would excel as a personal trainer. Although I never got to see him lead a spin class, I can picture him there, suffering behind a slightly mischievous smile and ready to inspire anyone with the heart to follow. After talking with his family yesterday, I was glad to hear that he had been happy and healthy up to the moment of his passing. I have no doubt that much of that happiness came from the knowledge that he was motivating you and many others to reach their goals. Thank you again for remembering Nick. He will be greatly missed.


Anonymous said...


Thanks also for saying something..We often think too much,and forget to say what we should: the I love you's, thank you's & miss you's. I had not spoken to Nick in over six years, but we started talking over facebook 2 weeks ago, I was so happy to have been back in touch. I'm sad that I can't answer his email back.. but I am glad to know he led a happy life and touched so many people.. I will always have the memories of the 8th grade dance over at your house, jumping on the trampoline, sneaking out without getting caught :),and so much more. I will miss you and thank you for being a great friend to so many!


Anonymous said...

Yeah, this was a shocker. Took his class the previous week as usual. The most awesome music. Could have been a DJ anywhere.

Made me think i need to start thanking people who touch my life in positive ways.

I hope his family knows the positive influence he had on his students. Kind soul, too. Always said hi to my kids when i was checking them in to the kid care place at Equinox.

God rest his soul.

Anonymous said...

Like everyone else, I am sad and shocked to hear about Nick. I enjoyed his classes...great music, challenging, and uplifting. What is etched in my mind the most are memories of him spinning to Ian Van Dahl's "Castles In the Sky"...we spun to this song often. I never got tired of hearing it and it was always the time in class that I would do most of my reflection. Thank you, Nick!

"Castles In The Sky"

Do you ever question your life?
Do you ever wonder why?
Do you ever see in your dreams..
all the castles in the sky.

Oh, tell me why...
do we build castles in the sky.
Oh, tell me why...
all the castles way up high.
Please tell me why
do we build castles in the sky.
Oh, tell me why...
all the castles way up high.

Kortney said...

Nick was such a great man, he could ALWAYS make you laugh! I had the pleasure of growing up with him, and am shocked to know that he is gone. He touched so many lives and from what I have read here it seems that he inspired many as well. Thank you for posting this blog...Kortney

Anonymous said...

Nick was a Fraternity Brother of mine. - JB

FYI --



Nicholas Adams Harrell

Charities | Send Flowers>>

Nicholas Adams Harrell

Santa Monica, CA
Our beloved son, brother, relative, and friend, Nick, died suddenly of unknown causes in Santa Monica, CA on July 27, 2008. He was formerly of Okemos, Michigan. Nick was a man of truth and compassion - listening and interacting at a very personal level. He dedicated himself to facilitating peoples' growth and awareness. He will also be remembered for his inner strength, clarity of comprehension, and great sense of humor.
Nick Harrell was born on March 4, 1976 in Lansing, Michigan. While attending Okemos High School, Nick participated in many sports and lettered in football, hockey, and ski team. He was selected to participate in a High School leadership forum in Washington, D.C. Nick attended Michigan State University from 1994-1998 where he received a BA degree in Marketing from the Eli Broad College of Business. While attending MSU, Nick was a member of Sigma Nu fraternity, a member of the Izzone, and on the MSU Ski Team. Upon graduation, Nick spent a year in Vail, Colorado where he worked demonstrating and fitting skis. After moving to Chicago in 1999, Nick explored many interests including a position as Director of Marketing for TheSoup.com and began a career as an Actor.
In 2002, Nick moved to the Los Angeles area. He acted in several TV commercials, and participated in film and theatre. During this period Nick became a certified Tier III personal trainer at Burn and Equinox gyms, became a certified spin instructor and Kundalini Yoga teacher, and was moving forward practicing and teaching personal growth through movement. His enthusiasm and dedication to his unique approach inspired many to reach their personal goals. Nick was passionate about fitness and participated in marathons, triathlons, and Ironmans. He also biked, hiked, skied, roller-bladed, and practiced yoga, always challenging himself and recently climbing Mt. Whitney on two occasions.
Nick's honest, loving, and graceful presence has touched all of us.
Nick is survived by his parents, Gilbert and Susanna Harrell; his sisters, Katherine Harrell and Rachael Harrell, Lisa Weithorn; his aunts and uncles: Betty Deaver, Mary Adams, Gayle and Carol Harrell, Nina and Garry Sheldon; and numerous friends, colleagues, and teachers.
Michigan and California memorial services have been arranged by the Harrell family in celebration of the life of Nicholas Adams Harrell.
A Michigan memorial service will be held Tuesday, August 5, 2008 at 2:00 p.m. at Michigan State University Alumni Memorial Chapel, Bogue Street and Auditorium Road, MSU Campus.
A California service will be held Friday, August 8, 2008. Time and Place TBD.
Those who so desire may make memorial donations in the memory of Nick to The Sierra Club (415)977-5653.
Published in the Lansing State Journal - August 3, 2008

Michelle Marie Berg said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Michelle Marie Berg said...

All I could say is that I loved the guy, his eyes his soul, his beautiful energy.

For me,
simply put, perfection.

It doesn't get more perfect than him.
I loved you Nicholas- An Angel among us.

Anonymous said...

I grew up with Nick...I've known him since elementary school, but fell out of touch in college. I'm so glad to see that he touched so many people's lives out here. He was one of the guys you looked up to and one that will be greatly missed.

Hi Shimmy!

Karen W. said...

What a beautiful blog page you have my dear...
You're story about Nicholas really touched me- In the words of Ken Keyes Jr."Everyone and everything around you is your teacher" He was that for you and more-May he be at peace now

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know how Nick died? As one of his friends I wish I knew so I could get some closure.

E.W Barking said...

I'm trying to get fit and I just took a long bike ride on the bike path in santa monica. I stopped for a rest on a bench that had a plaque on it. In memory of Nicholas Adams Harrell. I was struck by how young he was when he died, so I googled him on my phone and this blog came up.
He sounds so inspiring. Once I recovered I got on my bike, turned the music high and peddled for all I was worth.
So he is still inspiring !