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Michigan Runner Girl

The Michigan Runner Girl podcast is where you'll find a passion for running crosses paths with a love of living healthy in the beautiful state of Michigan. Runner, mother, writer and lover of all things Michigan Heather Durocher, creator of the running and travel site MichiganRunnerGirl.com, hosts the show, along with regular appearances by fellow Michigan Runner Girls (and Guys). Expect to hear informative and entertaining conversations with runners, race directors and fitness experts throughout Michigan during this weekly show. You'll learn about new races to try and great places to explore on foot. The Michigan Runner Girl podcast is all about living in a state of motion.
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Now displaying: 2017
Apr 10, 2017
Episode #89: Team Red, White & Blue: Helping veterans through running
 
Integrating back into civilian life is incredibly challenging for many veterans, and one national organization with a significant presence here in Michigan is helping ease that transition—and life beyond—thanks in part to running. On this week's show, Heather talks with two west Michigan runners and U.S. Army veterans—Eddie Kline and Ben Foreman—about their involvement with Team RWB Grand Rapids. Team RWB has chapters across the country, as well as internationally; there are 8 regions, 115,000 members, 209 locations and 1,999 volunteer leaders. Michigan has the most Team RWB chapters of any state and the midwest region is the most populated, too. "I really like being part of Team RWB because it aligns with what I do for my everyday life," says Eddie Kline, who is athletic director for the Holland Field Team, a sub-chapter of the Grand Rapids chapter. "Building a strong social community through positive relationships is prevalent in both RWB and my CrossFit gym. We use physical activities as our vehicle to bring people together and create bonds on top of that. It doesn't feel like a job because I love doing it—being part of the Team RWB leadership team has let me expand my reach, help my fellow veterans and give back to my community." Eddie and Ben share the different ways Team RWB is connecting veterans, civilians and communities. They also talk about upcoming races they're looking forward to, and how Team RWB will play a part in these events. 
 
Link: teamrwb.org 
-- 
Heather Johnson Durocher
Writer/Editor/Publisher/Podcast Host
Michigan Runner Girl ~ In a state of motion
 
3270 Autumn Leaf Drive
Traverse City, Michigan 49686
231-218-0842 (office/cell)
 
Twitter: @michrunnergirl
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Apr 4, 2017
"I think one of my biggest joys was learning my love affair with fueling what my body needed, whether that was nutritionally, or finding out this was the type of shoe I needed to wear ... or these were the days I needed to run." On this episode, Heather is joined by her friend Cassy Stone to talk about the running lifestyle. This comment is just one of the nuggets Cassy shares throughout the show, which includes stories from the two of them as well as Michigan Runner Girl readers and listeners. In this more personal conversation, Heather and Cassy share what running means to each of them, how and why they got started running, how it's evolved over the years (they both acknowledge that they discovered running later in life), and what it's meant for their minds and their bodies. They cover all sorts of topics, including taking on 26.2 — "If you want to get in touch with your own self, go ahead and train for a marathon," Cassy shares — and how running has transformed their lives in interesting and sometimes surprising ways. Peppered throughout their conversation are stories from MRG readers, who responded to Heather's call-out for "what running means to me" post on the Michigan Runner Girl Facebook page. Heather, who is training for her 8th marathon, talks about her family's involvement with running, including Joe's current training for his first 26.2, the Bayshore Marathon this Memorial Day weekend. Cassy gets honest about what it means to be a runner living with Multiple Sclerosis (MS). You're sure to be both nodding your head in recognition and feeling inspired as you hear these stories Cassy and Heather and fellow runners who have fallen in love with this sport.
 

--

Heather Johnson Durocher
Writer/Editor/Publisher/Podcast Host
Michigan Runner Girl ~ In a state of motion
Mar 21, 2017
For the third year, business students at Northwestern Michigan College in Traverse City are planning for the BIG Little Hero Race, held on campus on Saturday, April 15. This superhero-themed race raises funds for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northwestern Michigan. Heather welcomes to the show several of the students part of this effort, along with their instructor Kristy McDonald and marathoner/Big Brothers Big Sisters advocate Tony Anderson. The students—Abby Gudith, Sam Javed and Drew Geralds—talk about this year's event, which includes a kids fun run in addition to the 10K and 5K, costume awards and post-race festivities like face painting, music, snacks, silent raffle and more. Heather talks about her family's involvement in last year's race (this race is dog-friendly, so they brought their two Labs, dressed up as "Batman" canines, too). The races start on campus and the courses take runners out Old Mission Peninsula. Each child who participates receives a free cape, thanks to NMC's College for Kids. A fun run just for kids is held on campus. Last year's race raised about $26,000, and the students have a goal of exceeding that amount this year. This year's race also honors the late Sonja Olshove, a beloved social sciences teacher at NMC. "Sonja believed that everyone should have a hero and was involved with the Hero Imagination Project ... Sonja was a NMC superhero and we wanted to celebrate and remember her," Abby Gudith says. 
 
 
Link: biglittleherorace.com 
Mar 14, 2017
No Surrender Running Club isn't your everyday running organization. This nonprofit based in west Michigan is all about using running and mentorship as tools to empower urban youth in Grand Rapids. Kelli Zerbel, a runner in Grand Rapids, learned of this group and quickly decided to get involved. She joins Heather on the show to talk about what it means to be a part of this organization—and how it's impacted her own running. No Surrender Running Club works with 35 kids ages 10 to 18 each year, during designated spring and summer sessions; the club helps these children discover the joy (and work) involved with logging miles. And along the way, these young runners realize what they're made of and what they can accomplish, all on their own when they put their minds to reaching a goal. They run together and train for a race--the Reeds Lake 10K in the spring and the Lake Michigan Credit Union Bridge Run 10 mile race in the summer. Kelli also shares how she quit smoking and took up running, while living out west. Since returning to Michigan, she has not only gotten involved with No Surrender Running, she's also found her tribe of people in the west Michigan running community. She's run many 5Ks and 10Ks, three LMCU Bridge runs, four half marathons, three 25Ks and a marathon. Kelly mentions an upcoming fundraiser for No Surrender Running Club, taking place March 26. 
 
 

 

Mar 7, 2017
For those of us training for spring marathons and half marathons, our mileage is increasing and we may be experiencing some typical training "aches and pains." Sometimes it's nothing more than our body acclimating to the miles we're logging. Other times, however, we may be on the brink of injury (or, worse, dealing with a definite injury). Heather welcomes Brandon Lorenz of Probility Therapy Services in Ann Arbor to the show to talk about staying healthy and injury-free during our training cycles. Both Heather and Brandon are in the midst of training for big goal races -- Heather is in week 6 of training for her 8th marathon, the Bayshore Marathon in Traverse City this spring, while Brandon is gearing up for his first Ironman in California later this year -- so staying injury-free is definitely on their minds. Brandon is a physical therapist with more than 15 years of clinical experience. He also teaches continuing education courses across the country to other physical therapists. He's also been running for about 20 years. This show covers common issues that may arise during our training and how best to handle them. Heather and Brandon talk about the importance of rest days, how cross-training can help (but also how it may not be what you should focus on during race training), fueling well, treating minor aches and pains (and how to know if you've got an injury), the power of massage and ice baths, and lots more. Whether you're training for your first half marathon or marathon, or you're preparing for your 20th race, you're sure to take away some helpful information and be inspired listening to Brandon and Heather.
 
Link: probilitypt.com 
Feb 28, 2017
Kona Running Company, known for its fun and festive races in southern Michigan, is behind a new race that involves...chicken! Partnering with Buffalo Wild Wings, Kona Running Company is holding the inaugural Wild Run 5K and 8K on Sunday, April 2 in West Bloomfield. Runners will be able to enjoy boneless wings at the finish -- and they'll also have the chance to vote for their favorite wing flavor when registering for the event (top choices will be made available post-race). Alan Whitehead, marathoner and owner of Kona Running Company, joins Heather on the show to talk about the Wild Run this spring. He also shares details of the fall version of this event; a second Wild Run 5K and 8K is slated for Sunday, Sept. 24 in Canton. Another spring race coming up: the second annual Cheesecake Run on April 23 in Farmington Hills. This also includes an 8K and 5K, and features cheesecake samples from The Novi Cheesecake Factory at the finish line. Race organizers are expecting some 2,500 runners to participate in this year's Cheesecake Run -- nearly 2,000 ran it last year. Alan shares how the Cheesecake Run is partnering with Michigan State University this year, donating $3 per registered MSU member or alumnus race entry. These donation funds will go to the West Metro Detroit Spartans (MSU alumni club), which will provide two scholarships to students transferring to MSU from local community colleges. Alan gives listeners a heads up about another new Kona Running Company event, Stroh's Legend Run 5K run/walk on May 21 in Detroit as well as talks about this year's Kona Triple Crown races, which give runners the opportunity to earn an extra-special medal for completing three select Kona Running Company races. 
 
Links: konarunningcompany.com, konacheesecakerun.com, buffalowildwingsrace.com
Feb 21, 2017
Imagine feeling great throughout your workout, thanks to that healthy (and tasty) pre-run fuel you took before heading out the door for your run. This is what Denise and Kara Steely -- the mother-daughter baking duo behind DoughChicks -- wants for all of us. It's what drives them in creating their nutrient-dense and convenient food "for busy and active people." "Our food will sustain your blood-sugar level while giving you the fuel needed to get through the day with natural and delicious ingredients," they say. 
 
Denise and her daughter Denise, 33, recently made the trek from Kalamazoo to join Heather in the studio and talk about their running journeys and how they decided to create a business focused on baked goods that are good for us. Their family long has been an active one; Kara and her sister Bailey, 24, grew up watching their parents run races and participate in other outdoor activities (and took part themselves). Today, Kara and her mom aim to run a half marathon together once a year.
 
The business originally started in Wisconsin, where they lived at the time, but now is based in Kalamazoo. DoughChicks products -- all dairy-free, gluten-free and soy-free -- are available at area farm markets and natural health stores. And Denise and Kara have plans to expand further. 
 
Link: http://doughchicks.com
 
Feb 13, 2017
Going from 200 runners in 2004 to more than 1,400 members today, Kalamazoo Area Runners is the largest Road Runners Club of America (RRCA) running club in Michigan. This growth has taken place under the leadership of Bonnie Sexton, president of KAR and a certified running coach. Bonnie joins Heather on the show to talk all things running in Kalamazoo and the surrounding area. This region of the state boasts a thriving running scene, and Heather and Bonnie talk not only about KAR but also the other running opportunities available, from races to training groups and camps. Two upcoming events mentioned (with race discount codes for listeners!) during the show: Winter Blast Half Marathon, 10K and 5K on the Portage Trailway System on Feb. 26, 2017 and the popular Kal-Haven Trail Run on April 8. Heather also asks Bonnie about her own running journey, from track and field sprinter to endurance runner later in life -- she has completed 38 marathons, including five Boston Marathons (she was at the 2014 race and talks about what it was like to be there a year after the Boston Marathon bombings). Bonnie is married and has three children. She and her family live in Mattawan, Mich.
 
Also featured on this episode: news about this spring's North Mitten Half Marathon, 10K and 5K at Crystal Mountain in Thompsonville, Mich. Janice Davidson, race director and recreation director at the resort, joins Heather in the studio to talk about adding a 5K to this year's event the Sunday of Memorial Day weekend (May 28) and the all-new post-race party at the top of the slopes. A race discount for this event is mentioned for listeners to take advantage of, too.
 
--
Heather Johnson Durocher
Writer/Editor/Publisher/Podcast Host
Michigan Runner Girl ~ In a state of motion
Feb 6, 2017

Michigan Runner Girl invites women from across the state who have a passion for living healthy (and spending time with other fabulously fun women) to spend the weekend of May 4-7, 2017 in beautiful Traverse City. This is the second annual, all-inclusive Michigan Runner Girl Weekend taking place at the Grand Traverse Resort & Spa. On today's show: Heather welcomes Pam Carrigan and Ali Lopez to talk about this year's event. Pam is the event coordinator extraordinaire for MRG (she served as captain for Team MRG at last year's Ragnar Michigan) and Ali is, as listeners likely know, the talented chef who contributes delicious recipes to the blog. Ali prepared some awesome food at last year's MRG Weekend, and she's returning for the second annual retreat this spring.

Heather, Pam and Ali give a quick recap of last year's event and then dive into what's taking place this time around. Participants are sure to make new + amazing friends while running (trail and road options, all guided, are involved). Delicious and healthy food — an ways to re-create these easy, yummy dishes back home -- are also in the weekend line-up. Yoga and Pilates sessions, as well as spa treatments, are part of this long weekend. New this year: an afternoon of running and wine tasting planned, on the stunning Old Mission Peninsula. The ladies are also excited about a "pajama party" Friday night, and a delicious dinner-with-views at Aerie Restaurant & Lounge on Saturday night. 

Registration is underway for this Thursday-Sunday retreat featuring running, rest, relaxation and rejuvenation. That's right, this year MRG added an extra day to include even more time for connection and re-centering and, of course, running. 

More details and registration information: http://michiganrunnergirl.com/michigan-runner-girl-weekend-join-us-in-traverse-city-this-spring/

 

Jan 30, 2017
Tony Anderson, a northern Michigan runner and 54-year-old father of three and grandfather of two, is on a mission to run a marathon in all 50 states. And he's completed 35 so far. But his reason for chasing this ambitious goal is special because it is tied to an organization that's near and dear to his heart: Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northwest Michigan. Having grown up without his father -- his dad died in a car accident at age 28 -- Tony understands both the pain of growing up without one a parent and the importance of having mentors to help guide a child following a loss. Heather talks with Tony about his dedication to running and commitment to helping children who, as he experienced, are in need of mentors. He created Marathon 4 Kids to help raise funds, through his marathon running, for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northwest Michigan. He's raised almost $210,000 so far for this organization. Heather and Tony talk about his most memorable 26.2 races, what it means for him to be helping raise funds for Big Brithers Big Sisters, the impact his running has had on his own family, and the marathon he is eyeing for his 50th 26.2.
 
Link: marathon4kids.com 
Jan 23, 2017
For a long time, Grand Rapids runner Sasha Wolff kept her depression a secret. "It was a diagnosis I was ashamed of and rarely talked about," Sasha says of the diagnosis she received in 2003 at age 18. "Because of that, I carried my burden of shame around for years." But Sasha, who grew up in California, realized she needed to do something to cope with her depression, and ultimately, the shame she felt. She started to run in 2012, and in 2015 ran her first marathon. Sasha joins Heather on the show to talk about her journey, which has included creating a community of runners -- Still I Run -- helping others combat depression and anxiety through our sport. "We're a community of warriors determined to take control of our physical and mental health while also breaking the stigma surrounding people who live with mental illness," she says. Since taking up running in 2012, Sasha has run two more marathons as well as completed a half Ironman, 10 half marathons, a 25K and countless 10Ks and 5Ks. She also shares on the show her involvement with Pine Rest Mental Health Services, and how she has a team of runners helping raise awareness at this year's Fifth Their Riverbank Run.
 
Link: stilliruncommunity.com 
Jan 16, 2017
With spring marathon and half marathon training getting underway for many runners, Heather welcomes elite runner and coach Luke Humphrey to the show to talk about his books Hansons Marathon Method and Hansons Half Marathon Method. Luke, who is a runner with the Hansons-Brooks Distance Project in Rochester, Mich., wrote these books with Keith and Kevin Hanson, elite running coaches and owners of Hansons Running Shops in southern Michigan. Their training method is used with impressive success by members of the Hansons-Brooks Distance Project as well as everyday runners all across the country. Runners who follow the plan often achieve personal best times -- sometimes huge PRs -- given the method's unconventional approach (one example: the longest run in the marathon plan is 16 miles, not the traditional 20 or 22). Luke explains in detail how the method's combination of  "smart science with proven practice" makes all the difference. You'll hear about the importance of "cumulative fatigue" and how you learn to train hard and consistently by following the plan, resulting in a strong performance on race day. Luke also shares his own personal running journey, which began in high school and continued at Central Michigan University. He has qualified for three Olympic trials in the marathon -- in 2008, 2012 and 2016 -- and has a personal best marathon finish time of 2:14:38. 
 
Link: 
Hansons Coaching Services: hansonscoachingservices.com 
 

 

Jan 9, 2017

For this first Michigan Runner Girl episode of 2017, Heather welcomes wellness chef Ali Lopez and dietician nutritionist Miranda Monroe back to the show to talk about a favorite topic of runners: food. Many of us may be looking to improve upon our eating in the coming year, so we can fuel well and feel great. Heather shares how she's been spending more time in the kitchen lately, trying out new recipes specifically geared toward an active lifestyle, and Ali and Miranda -- both training for the Boston Marathon this April -- talk simple, small-step ways we all can improve upon our eating habits and enhance the experience of cooking and preparing meals that in turn help us stay strong and healthy for running. Learn the importance of "starting where you are" and planning ahead (the trio talk quite a bit about the power of a well-stocked pantry, as well as practical ways to make the most of your grocery shopping trips.) The trio also touch on how to become a mindful eater -- and how it makes a big difference in our overall health and well-being. Whether you're feeling on track with your food intake, or wish you could give it a boost, there's lots to digest (pun intended) and take away in this latest episode. 
--

Heather Johnson Durocher
Writer/Editor/Publisher/Podcast Host
Michigan Runner Girl ~ In a state of motion
 
Jan 2, 2017
From guided, lantern-lit snowshoe hikes and peaceful cross country skiing, to Yurt camping, moose-viewing and experiencing "dark sky parks," the Michigan Department of Natural Resources offers myriad opportunities for outdoor recreation each winter. Maia Turek, statewide recreation programmer for the DNR, returns to the Michigan Runner Girl show to talk about the numerous winter programs and nature experiences available at many of Michigan's 103 state parks and 138 state forest campgrounds. "When you're there in the summer, parks have a sound - kids playing, seagulls, campers ... when you go in the winter it's completely different. You can hear nature," Maia says. Just a few of the parks Heather and Maia talk about during the show: Ludington State Park (family-friendly snowshoe programs); Rockport Recreation Area near Alpena (an old quarry that's an awesome spot for snowshoeing, who knew?); Muskegon State Park (check out the Yurt!); Blueberry Ridge near Marquette (fantastic cross-country ski trails). You'll also hear about the state's 5 "dark sky parks" as well as learn that the entire Upper Peninsula is designated a dark sky preserve. Maia and Heather also announce a joint fitness challenge kicking off this January -- the Michigan Runner Girl - Michigan DNR Fitness Challenge. The challenge is free and open to anyone interested in getting outdoors and experiencing nature in Michigan this winter. Prizes will be given away each week during the challenge, which will run through February. How it works: snap a photo of yourself, or of you and your family and friends, being active outside. It could be a run, a snowshoe, a hike, a ski -- whatever gets your body moving outdoors. Share the photo on Instagram, using the hashtags #MRGEnergy and #MIStateParks. Each week, MRG will share a reader/listener photo on the MRG Facebook page (and on Instagram, of course) and that person will win a prize from Michigan Runner Girl and the Michigan DNR. (hint: could be free camping, gear or other fun prizes!)
 
Links: michigan.gov/recsearch, michigan.gov/natureprograms 
 

 

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