Just two more sleeps until IRONMAN 70.3 Traverse City! After months of training and preparing (and juggling lots of life stuff), Heather will join more than 2,000 other athletes from all across Michigan, the U.S. and beyond who are participating in this weekend's inaugural IRONMAN 70.3 Traverse City swim-bike-run event.
Heather shares how she's feeling going into race weekend with her close friend and fellow runner and cyclist Cassy Stone. "I do think I have done a pretty good job and I have done the best I can with training...The mental part at this point is really important. I need to be thinking hey, I get to do this. This a chance, no matter what happens, to learn things."
Cassy brings a unique perspective to the show with her first-hand experience welcoming triathletes and the IRONMAN crew to the area through her position at Traverse City Tourism, which brought the event to northern Michigan.
Heather and Cassy also recap this summer's inaugural Michigan Runner Girl Trail 10K & 5K as well as Heather's first Olympic distance triathlon -- the Traverse City Triathlon -- just a few weeks ago (where she experienced a mini-panic attack at the start of the swim as well as discovered just how much she still needed to learn about fueling well during the bike portion of the race).
Whether you're here in TC to compete in the IRONMAN, you're gearing up to cheer on a family member or friend, or you've been following Heather's journey to this race weekend, this episode gives you a race week perspective that is both authentic and inspirational.
Eva and Ed Solomon are headed north from their home in the Ann Arbor area this weekend—joining more than 2,000 other triathletes and their families—for the inaugural IRONMAN 70.3 Traverse City. Eva and Ed, married for 29 years (they’re celebrating their anniversary this weekend, in fact), signed up for this race together. While Eva is a longtime triathlete, Ed is a newer one, having completed his first one earlier this summer.
Eva and Ed talk about what led them to take on this race, what the training has been like, and how Eva has watched her husband become a stronger swimmer and athlete. “It’s been seriously surreal,” she says. Ed worked with a coach to become more confident in the water. “I’m still a bad swimmer,” he says, but adds he feels stronger than ever. “My swimming has gone through a journey.” Working with a coach, he adds, was “really meaningful.” He talks about how he juggled a demanding job with training six days a week. “I wake up way earlier than I used to, and I go to bed way earlier.”
Eva has been on the show a number of times in the past. She is behind the southeastern Michigan race management company Epic Races. She first got into triathlon in the mid-1990s and started Epic Races 12 years ago.
Eva shares a tough decision she made recently related to her participation in IRONMAN 70.3. As much as she wanted to see through her commitment, she came to the realization that competing and taking part as an athlete just wasn't in the cards this time around. This was an emotional decision, and she talks honestly about what that has been like and her mindset shift to being the best cheerleader and supporter on race day for her husband.
IRONMAN 70.3 has been a regular topic on the show these past few months – watch for a special race weekend episode to be released as well!
If you haven't yet run a Great Lakes Endurance trail race -- these events take place in the Upper Peninsula and lower northern Michigan -- you're going to want to sign up for one after listening to this inspiring conversation with Jeff Crumbaugh.
We've talked about these marathons, half marathons, and other trail distances (including ultra) on the podcast in the past. The very first episode of the MRG podcast, in fact, featured a recap of the Grand Island Half Marathon, one of Heather's absolute favorite trail races -- maybe her most favorite. Jeff comes on the show to talk about these races, as well as two new ones being added this fall (for runners and cyclists!). These new races include La Deme Grand Half Marathon & 10K on Sept. 22 on Grand Island, and a 100K and 50K gravel bike race on Oct. 5 on Grand Island.
Jeff also talks about Great Lakes Endurance's commitment to eco-friendly races -- Jeff has a passion and love for the environment and respect for the land, and his enthusiasm and dedication is infectious.
These trail races take you deep into the woods, into the most scenic landscapes Michigan has to offer. They're truly incredible and gorgeous. The events are smaller, more intimate, too, so the overall experience is uniquely memorable. Learn more here: https://www.greatlakesendurance.com
The very first MRG podcast (4 years ago this month!): https://michiganrunnergirl.com/announcing-the-michigan-runner-girl-podcast/
Another MRG favorite Great Lakes Endurance race (snowshoe racing -- put this on your calendar for this winter!) https://michiganrunnergirl.com/paradise-found-snowshoe-racing-tahquamenon-falls-state-park-race-discount-code/
If you enjoy what you’re hearing on the Michigan Runner Girl show, we’d be so grateful if you’d take a few moments to write a review! You can do this on iTunes. This will help more runners and Michigan lovers like yourself find the podcasts. Thank you!!
A special thanks to Mike Moran, Mike Youker and Jonny Tornga of Quarter After Productions in Traverse City, Mich. for producing the show.
Jen Casey, a northern Michigan runner, triathlete and mom of two young children, discovered a love of road biking and running in New York City. She was there on 9/11, a profound experience that years later would lead her to become a race director of a local charity race honoring first responders. “I needed to find a way to heal from that. And I think a lot of other people did, too,” Jen says of the 9/11 Honor Run 5K that is in its third year and will take place on Saturday, Sept. 7 in Traverse City. “My heart just goes out to the people who help us every day. I wanted to be able to put on a race that is dedicated to this and to honor the people that passed that day. I don’t want to ever forget that day.”
Jen talks about how she became a triathlete while living in Chicago – watching athletes swim in Lake Michigan along the Windy City’s lakefront inspired her to join a local triathlon club and start racing herself. After moving back to northern Michigan about five years ago and starting a family, she continued her athletic journey. “I never thought I’d say this, but I have turned into a morning person. It’s the only time. I always secretly wanted to be a morning person, but I never had a reason to until I had kids and a full time job. If I was going to do this, it was going to be the only time. I get up at 4:30 in the morning on the days that I train.”
“I know that it’s going to be tough, mentally and physically. It’s more than I have done in a really, really long time. But I know I have been educated enough and I trained enough. They have done an amazing job of preparing us for this race. I know I am going to get it done. I am going to cross the finish line with a smile on my face.
“The journey is hard … It’s that decision that you make. I can easily stay in the bed, or I can get up and not regret it all day. If I get up and do it, I am going to be feel better about myself … It’s a good journey.”