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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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Dec 19, 2017

{Special Episode note from Heather} Nearly two years ago, having watched on TV elite distance runner Desiree Linden place second at the U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials, finishing with a time of 2:28:54, I marveled at her steady-strong pacing and cool-as-a-cucumber demeanor -- especially on what was an especially warm day in Los Angeles. I thought to myself, not for the first time, how I’d love the opportunity to meet her in person, to have her as a guest on my podcast. Not only because of her inspiring performance and numerous accomplishments (I had also excitedly watched from my computer as she crossed the finish line and came in second place at the 2011 Boston Marathon), but because she’s a Michigan Runner Girl, just like us. OK, maybe not exactly like us. She has that super speedy thing going on. But she does live here in the Mitten -- she and husband (and rockstar Ironman athlete) Ryan Linden train in Rochester Hills with fellow Hansons Brooks Original Distance Project athletes -- and in fact has been spending an increasing amount of time in northern Michigan. I just knew we’d have lots of talk about, and I wanted to share that conversation with the MRG community. So I did what any respectable blogger and podcaster would do: I commented on one of her tweets, kept up on her Instagram posts, and eventually sent a direct message to her via Twitter, inquiring about her interest in coming on my show. And, she responded. She had a lot going on, with the Olympic Games in Rio just around the corner (oh, yes, that makes sense, of course...), so she asked if we could talk again later in the year. To which I said “Yes!!” (I hoped she didn't think I was too much of a stalker...)

Fast forward to this past spring, when I ran my 8th marathon and fourth Bayshore in my hometown of Traverse City. While the race didn’t go exactly as I had hoped (an old achilles injury flared just past the halfway mark), a few special things happened that day, including seeing Des on the course holding a sign and cheering on runners AND having the opportunity to talk with her around the 24-mile mark after Emma asked if she’d take a photo with us. Des was so kind and encouraging, just when I needed a boost. 

In recent months, Des and I began emailing each other. She shared that she’d be happy to come on my show, that she’d taken a step back from running this past summer but was getting back into a groove. December, she told me, would be a great time to get together. So we did just that, and the result is this latest episode of the Michigan Runner Girl podcast. Des and Ryan made the trek to Traverse City from their home in Charlevoix, about an hour drive, and not only did she sit with me and my co-host Pam Carrigan for an hour for the podcast, she and Ryan also joined Joe and I for dinner out afterward at one of our favorite spots, The Filling Station in Traverse City.

During this episode, Pam and I talk with Des about her self-imposed break from running following this last spring’s Boston Marathon (where she finished fourth), how she spent this time away from the sport, when and how she re-discovered a hunger for competitive running, the half marathon she recently won, and lots more, including how she got started running (she was a soccer player from the age of 5) and what it was like for her to watch Shalane Flanagan win this fall’s New York City Marathon. We also may have raised a glass of whiskey to her recent race win in San Antonio, Texas. We had so much fun talking with her -- I know you guys are going to love hearing from her as much as we did! (Fun fact: When Des finished second at the 2011 Boston Marathon by just two seconds and set a personal record by four minutes, her time of 2:22:38 was then the fastest time ever run by an American woman in the Boston Marathon. After her success in Boston she was invited to throw the first pitch at a Detroit Tigers game.)

Following our conversation with Des, Pam and I offer a re-cap of the experience talking with a two-time Olympic marathoner -- Des says she’s up for a return visit to the podcast, maybe after her Boston 2018 race! -- and we also share information about the upcoming winter and spring Michigan Runner Girl weekend retreats.

Nov 28, 2017

In the past 2 ½ years, Lowell, Mich. runner Robert Woldhuis has competed in almost 90 running events, including 29 half marathons, three 25Ks, four full marathons, a 50K trail race and, this October, his first 50-miler, which took place in Door County, Wis. Runners throughout the state know Robert, or are at least probably familiar with who he is, given he’s the friendly, outgoing guy wearing a colorful tutu and carrying an American flag during races. “The tutu for me is a reminder to not take life too seriously. It inspires people to smile and laugh,” says Robert, 41, who created a Facebook page titled Adventures of Tutu Man.

 

Finding levity in life and sharing it with others is important to Robert, who spent a good chunk of his life struggling to maintain healthy relationships, remain sober and stay out of trouble with the law. He ultimately served a five-year prison sentence because of drug crimes he committed and scams he orchestrated. It was in prison, on a half-mile dirt track, that Robert discovered running and its transformative power.

Heather and Robert talk about this journey and how running opened up a new world to him as well as triggered a new life’s mission. He’s especially excited about being named to the 2018 Fifth Third Riverbank Run Road Warrior Team of Ambassadors. Whether on the road or trail, or behind a race expo booth table, Robert is passionate about connecting with others.

“My favorite memory of the 50-mile race was the fact that I probably got to share my testimony and listen to other people’s stories probably 10,12, 15 times … A big part of the healing part of the journey that I have been on — you know, I’ve been sober for a little over 7 years now — and a big part of that was just transparency and accountability with some people in my life. The transparency comes in with being more of an open book, instead of being reclusive and shoving issue down and not talking about them. It’s being open to talk about things.”

Find Robert on Facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/Theadventuresoftutuman/

Oct 30, 2017

It's getting to be about that time...one of Heather's fall race traditions—the Great Beerd Run at the Grand Traverse Resort & Spa—is set for Saturday, Nov. 11. Joining Heather on the show to talk about this fun northern Michigan run: Kelly Yauk, a fellow Michigan Runner Girl and race director of this annual race that celebrates all things Michigan beer AND beards. Longtime listeners will be happy to hear from Kelly, who has been on the show in the past (and happens to be quite hilarious). Kelly shares what she's been up to lately (she's known for traveling far and wide for races, and she also talks about a Michigan run she recently enjoyed with her 2-year-old daughter). 

A few things to know about this year's Great Beerd Run:
- There's a race discount code just for Michigan Runner Girl readers and listeners: use MIRUNNERGIRL at checkout to save $5.
- Your registration fee includes race entrance, knitted beard beanie, bottle opener/race medal, 3 beer samples, one glass of beer during the post-race party and entrance into post-race party featuring live music.
- The craft beer is delicious. Thank you, Right Brain Brewery, Beards Brewery and Short's Brewing Company.
- NEW IN 2017: race organizers are offering a $30 registration fee with all of the great race perks, minus the beard beanie.
- The fastest male and female score epic Nordic inspired beard/hat sets.
- Don't care to go fast? You won't be alone. This is a fun, untimed race and plenty of runners enjoy the course, the beer samples, the scenery, the camaraderie. (Check out this blog post from Heather's Beerd Run a couple of years ago, when she came in, yep, dead last.
http://michiganrunnergirl.com/michigan-brew-beards-and-one…/ )

Get more details, including info on special room rates, here:
http://www.thegreatbeerdrun.com

Oct 11, 2017

You couldn't miss Team MRG at this fall's Reebok Ragnar Relay Michigan, a 195.5-mile trek from Muskegon to Traverse City. And it wasn't simply because our team of 12 women wore matching blue Michigan Runner Girl shirts. Fellow Ragnarians grew to learn, over the 2-day race, that Team Michigan Runner Girl traveled in the two purple-and-pink-and-blue Muscle Milk vans—handing out Muscle Milk goodies along the way. 

MRG's partnership with Muscle Milk was new this year, but logging the miles on country roads, through quaint coastal towns, and along the Lake Michigan shoreline was not. Team MRG was back again, after last fall's inaugural Ragnar Relay Michigan event, to tackle the distance (and lack of sleep) together. On this week's show: a rundown of race weekend with Heather Durocher and Ragnar teammates Pam Carrigan, Erin Henshaw and Ann Eshleman. While Pam, Heather and Erin were part of last year's Ragnar team, Ann was a Ragnar newbie and she shares how the experience exceeded her expectations in all of the right ways (she also talks about how she was apprehensive going into the experience and had plenty of questions for Pam in the days leading up to race day). The women break down how Ragnar relays work, how 12-person teams split into two "mini teams" with their own van, the challenges and rewards of running a total of three separate "legs," including through the night, and how each van found ways to fuel (at a few delicious restaurants) and rest (a little!) throughout the race. Heather and Ann were in van 1 while Erin and Pam were in van 2. 

Whether you also participated in this year's Ragnar Michigan, or you're thinking about giving one a try, you're sure to be entertained during this informative and, at times hilarious, episode. (While "what happens at Ragnar stays at Ragnar," this episode definitely sheds some light on the silly and fun things that can happen when a dozen women team up to cover "200-ish miles" together.)

Sep 19, 2017

Rahaf Khatib is a 7-time marathoner, training and living with her husband and three children in Farmington Hills, Mich. She’s also been in the national spotlight in the past couple of years—she was the first Muslim hijabi runner to be featured on the cover of Women’s Running magazine a year ago, and she also was selected as a top 10 finalist for Runner’s World cover running contest in 2015. Rahaf joins Heather on the show to talk about her start in running in 2012—her son’s gym teacher encouraged her to sign up for a 5K (she ended up running the 10K!)—and how she went on to tackle half marathons, sprint triathlons and marathons. Supporting and encouraging fellow Muslim and non-Muslim women is important to Rahaf, who co-organized a 5K for INSA (Islamic Society of North America) for more than 500 runners. “My goal is to represent the under-represented—that is, Hijabis in the fitness world.” She also strives to educate others about her faith and her decision, as part of her Muslim faith, to wear long sleeves, pants and the head scarf called hijab while running. “The question I’m always asked is ‘Aren’t you hot?’” she says. Rahaf, who was born in Damascus, Syria and grew up in Dearborn, Mich., is founder of the popular Instagram account Runlikeahijabi, where she posts running tips and advice for Muslim and non-Muslim women. While training for Boston 2017, she raised $16,000 for refugees in Michigan. Rahaf blogs at Run Like a Hijabi

Jul 17, 2017

As Heather takes a self-imposed running break following a spring marathon and half marathon, to ensure a longtime comes-and-goes running injury heals, she welcomes physical therapist and board-certified orthopedic clinical specialist Jeff Samyn to the show. Jeff, a runner who also does CrossFit, works at Northern Michigan Sports Medicine Center in Petoskey, Mich. They talk about when to know you should take a break from running due to pain/discomfort (and why it's so tough to actually admit this to ourselves!), the best ways to handle running breaks (both mentally and physically), and how to ease back into a routine. Heather and Jeff also share reader comments from the Michigan Runner Girl Facebook page—many readers and listeners chimed in with their own stories of running injuries, running breaks, chronic pain, and cross-training ideas and lots more. 

The Michigan Runner Girl podcast is back after a couple week break. The summer show release schedule will be a bit more sporadic as Heather and her production team enjoy summer in Michigan—and gear up for a full line-up of weekly shows this fall. 

The Michigan Runner Girl Show is supported by the Grand Traverse Resort & Spa

Jun 19, 2017
Known as the "Original Traverse City Foot Race," the Festival of Races that are part of the National Cherry Festival each July include distances for just about any runner: a half marathon, 15K, 10K and 5K. These races, which take place the final weekend of the weeklong festival, on Saturday, July 8, are a summer tradition for many runners, including Heather's family. This year marks the races' 44th year—the race started in 1973 as a 10K and shifted to a 15K in 1978. In 1989 the 5K was added; most recently, the 10K was re-introduced along with a half marathon. All told, more than 50,000 participants have crossed the finish line over the years. This show features Heather's conversation with co-race director Katherine Brege, assistant race director Tabitha McNeil and Traverse City runner Robyn Thompson. The foursome talk about their favorite Cherry Festival and Festival of Races memories. Katherine shares details on each race—what runners can expect out on the courses—while Tabi offers up information on finish line updates and changes. They also talk about the popular Cherry Mile (formerly the Golden Mile) and Carter's Run, the kids' fun run mile, that take place Thursday evening of Festival Week. 
 
Link: cherryfestival.org 

 

Jun 13, 2017
Episode #98: Jeff Crumbaugh of Great Lakes Endurance on his eco-friendly trail races in northern Michigan, the U.P. & northern Wisconsin
 
Jeff Crumbaugh, longtime runner, race director and founder of race management company Great Lakes Endurance, is known for his commitment to "ecologically mindful running races." Since 2000, Great Lakes Endurance has provided runners with exceptional trail running experiences while giving back to organizations involved in land conservancy, environmental education and sustainable silent sport trail construction or maintenance. Heather has talked about some of these races on previous episodes, in large part because they're among her favorite running events. Topping her list of best trail running races in Michigan is the Grand Island Trail Run, which includes a half marathon, marathon and 50K on the stunning island in Lake Superior near Munising. (This was in fact the topic of the very first MRG Podcast, back in summer 2015.) Jeff joins Heather on the show to talk about the Grand Island Trail Run as well as the others he and his team organize each year in northern lower Michigan, the Upper Peninsula and in northern Wisconsin, where Jeff and his company are based. The next Great Lakes Endurance event is the Two Hearted Trail Run, a 50K, marathon and half marathon on Saturday, June 24on trails between Paradise, Mich. and the mouth of the Two Hearted River. A special race discount code is shared with listeners. You'll also hear all about Great Lakes Endurance's other races held throughout the year, including two winter snowshoe races. 
 
Link: www.greatlakesendurance.com 
 
-- 
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
Have you heard? The MRG Podcast features new episodes each week. Tune in here >>
** Don't miss out on Michigan race news & deals: sign up for the MRG monthly newsletter **
Jun 6, 2017
 More than 5,000 runners finished the Bayshore races in Traverse City a little over a week ago. During this special episode, Heather checks in with Daniel Siderman, race director of the Bayshore, as well as Lisa Taylor, a MRG podcast regular who was recently named executive director of the Traverse City Track Club, which oversees this northern Michigan race tradition. In this first part of the show, Daniel and Lisa give a behind-the-scenes look at the Bayshore, which marked its 35th anniversary this past Memorial Day weekend. They share how this race got started in the early 80s (it began as only a marathon and 10K; the half marathon was added later), how its evolved and grown in popularity (races typically sell out fast when registration opens in December each year), and the impressive impact, financial and otherwise, it has on Traverse City and the surrounding areas. Heather, Daniel and Lisa also talk about this year's races—Heather ran her fourth Bayshore marathon, her 8th 26.2 overall—and the new things runners experienced in 2017 (free race course photography, for example). They also talk about two notable runners who took part in Bayshore this year, one of whom was a complete surprise on race day (hint: she's an Olympic marathon finisher). In the second part of the show, Heather is joined by runner Dave Taylor, who shares his marathon experience at Bayshore—he was aiming to qualify for Boston, and he did just that. Lisa Taylor, who is married to Dave, sticks around for this part of the show and talks about supporting Dave in this goal. Dave just might have a running partner to join him in Boston next April, as their college-age daughter Ellie is hoping to get a BQ at her first marathon this June in Charlevoix, Mich. If you've ever wondered what it's like to run Bayshore, this episode is sure to answer all of your questions. And if you were there yourself running the marathon, half marathon or 10K, you'll have fun re-living your Bayshore experience.
Link: bayshoremarathon.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
Have you heard? The MRG Podcast features new episodes each week. Tune in here >>
** Don't miss out on Michigan race news & deals: sign up for the MRG monthly newsletter **
May 30, 2017
The Holland Haven Marathon and Half Marathon—the race starts in Grand Haven and ends in Holland, Mich.—is in its fourth year and runners now have a third race distance to choose from when signing on for this event: an 8K. "The 8K is a great segue into longer distance races," says Eddie Kline, who along with his wife, Jen, joins Heather on this episode to talk about the races taking place Sunday, Sept. 10. "As a mid-distance road race, it is accessible enough for the novice runner yet incredibly challenging to experienced racers. Participants can do the Holland Haven 8K as a fun run with kids and as an 8K walk." Starting this year, runners can earn a trifecta medal—if you've already run both the half and full marathon and this year are planning to run the 8K. The idea is that once runners complete each distance (not in the same year, but rather come back each year and try a different distance), they'll receive this special trifecta medal. Jen and Eddie share event details, including: where on the marathon course runners can find both bacon and pickle juice; post-race party/expo info (pig roast!); lodging specials; charity partner stories and more. Eddie also opens up about his devastating fall last October that broke his back, how he recovered and healed, and what it's been like to return to running. This journey has given him a new perspective on our sport. The experience also revealed just how beloved Jen and Eddie are in their community, which includes the many people who are part of their gym, CrossFit Soaring Ledge in Holland. There's also a race discount code shared during the show. 
 
Link: hollandhavenmarathon.com 
May 23, 2017

Marathoner, ultra marathoner and Detroit native Dave Krupski likes "creating race courses that are my dream races." He's behind the Daytona 100 in Florida and this coming month he'll debut his Michigan ultra marathon courses: the Lighthouse 100-mile and 50-mile ultras on Saturday, June 10. Dave Krupski, along with northern Michigan runner Dan Oberski, are guests on this episode. They talk with Heather about this upcoming 100-miler that starts at the lighthouse in Petoskey and finishes at the lighthouse at the tip of Traverse City's Old Mission Peninsula. (There's also a 50-mile option; this course follows the second half of the 100-mile race course.) Dan Oberski, who was previously a guest on the podcast, talking about running extra long distances, has been training for next month's Lighthouse 100—his first 100-mile race. Dan and Dave talk about how they met earlier this spring (and ran about 30 miles together on the race course), the allure of ultra running, what runners can expect at this new road running event and more. The two race courses are on pavement, not trail where many ultras take place, but runners will be running almost exclusively on bicycle paths along Lake Michigan, on paved trails and little-used country roads, and through some of the most exclusive areas in Michigan. "All along the way you will enjoy countless unobstructed views of the water," Dave says. The terrain ranges from flat (miles 1-30) to rolling hills (miles 30-100). In addition, the race is near the summer equinox, ensuring runners will enjoy about 16 hours of daylight. "When the sun sets, a full moon will illuminate you throughout the night."

 
Link: 
www.lighthouse100ultra.com

 

May 16, 2017
You may know David Willey as the longtime editor-in-chief of Runner's World magazine—he's been at the helm of this publication for 14 years—and as the host of the popular Runner's World podcast. But did you also know he's a native of Michigan? David joins Heather on the show to talk about growing up in the Mitten (he lived in Ann Arbor as a child and later Grand Rapids, where he played high school football and other sports) and how he's returning to his home state for this month's Bayshore Marathon on Saturday, May 27 in Traverse City. David has been talking quite a bit about this upcoming goal race of his, in the print magazine and also on the podcast he hosts each week. This is because the Bayshore is the race he chose for his "moonshot marathon quest," otherwise known as his attempt to finally qualify for the Boston Marathon. Heather and David talk about his early years of sports-playing (and his initial dislike of running), how he eventually fell in love with our sport in his 20s, the first marathon he ran, and some of the highlights of his years as editor-in-chief of Runner's World. He also shares how he "feels like a new runner," having worked with a team of Nike experts throughout his training for the Bayshore. Heather and David delve into this and also talk through Bayshore course tips and, of course, where David should consider going in Traverse City post-race for a celebratory burger. David also talks about his upcoming plans post-marathon (hint: a career change is in the works...) You're sure to be inspired listening to David's story and ambitious plans for BQ'ing in another couple of weeks. Heather found herself feeling even more excited about Bayshore—her fourth Bayshore Marathon—after talking with David. 
 
This episode is supported by the Grand Traverse Resort and Spa (grandtraverseresort.com) and Traverse City Tourism (traversecity.com)
 
Links:
 
Runner's World: runnersworld.com
 
Bayshore Marathon: bayshoremarathon.com 
May 9, 2017

Way back in spring 2010, not too long before Heather started the Michigan Runner Girl blog, she wrote posts about running for a northern Michigan trails organization. She'd been running for a few years, had several races under her belt, and was really starting to ramp up her mileage and health and fitness writing. The sport definitely had become an essential part of her life. And when she wasn't out on the roads or trails, or writing about the mental and physical benefits of exercise, she was reading about running—magazines, web sites, books, whatever she could find. One of her absolute favorites to this day: Run Like a Mother by Dimity McDowell and Sarah Bowen Shea—two women she "knew" only through their bylines in Runner's World magazine. She made a request for a review copy—a perk of being a freelance journalist—and from the moment she received it in the mail, she couldn't put it down. Covering all aspects of running and how to find time for it amid family and work, it completely spoke to her and where she was at in her life. She's since shared it with friends, and has enjoyed watching Sarah and Dimity's success build as they've created an incredibly strong tribe through their web site AnotherMotherRunner.com, social media, weekly podcast, online training groups, as well as with a second and third book and by traveling across the country to connect with other mother runners at races and other special events. If you're a parent and a runner, you've likely heard of—and probably are a part of—the Another Mother Runner community.

Sarah and Dimity join Heather on this episode to talk about how the mother runner movement began, the three books they've published, how their thriving community has evolved over the past several years (this year they've been celebrating their 7th AMR-versary), what it's meant for each of them to connect with so many women across the country (and beyond), and the exciting plans they have for further connections with mother runners in the coming months.
 
Learn more about Another Mother Runner at anothermotherrunner.com
 
This episode is supported by the Grand Traverse Resort and Spa — grandtraverseresort.com — and Traverse City Tourism, found at traversecity.com 

 

May 1, 2017
The longstanding south Michigan road race known as DXA2—the Dexter-Ann Arbor Run—is set for Sunday, June 4, 2017. This event, now in its 44th year, includes a half marathon, 10K, 5K and kids run. Doug Goodhue, masters runner and DXA2 race director, returns to the show to talk about this race that attracts thousands of runners to the riverbanks of Michigan's Huron River Drive each summer. The race is a weekend experience, starting with the kids run on June 3 and the half, 10K and 5K run/walk taking place the next morning. Race organizers are building on the success of a team challenge that was implemented with the half marathon and have added this feature to the 10K and 5K. Doug also shares what he's been up to lately (he was heading to Boston for a very special race the weekend after this conversation was recorded) and why he's really looking forward to running the popular Flint, Mich. race The Crim Festival of Races this August (at age 75, Doug still is running strong and will be running his 30th Crim this year.) 
Doug also talks openly about a runner doping scandal that came to light not long after last year's DXA2. He shares how the problem was handled—and how race organizers are committed to making sure it doesn't happen again.
 
Links: 
Dexter-Ann Arbor Run: http://dxa2.com
The Crim: http://crim.org/races-events/crim/

 

Apr 24, 2017
Joel Gaff returns to the show to talk about his most recent athletic adventures, including an Ironman race in Chattanooga, TN and the scenic trail running out west he loves so much. Joel is behind Endurance Evolution, the race management and race timing services company based in Traverse City, Mich. (and also Portland, Ore., since Joel splits his time between these two cities). Endurance Evolution hosts a number of northern Michigan races, including the Traverse City Trail Running Festival each spring, the Glen Arbor Solstice Half Marathon and 5K in June, the Traverse City Triathlon in August and the popular Sleeping Bear Marathon, Half Marathon and 5K each October. Joel gives an update on this year's line-up of races, which are some of Heather's favorites. He mentions that the Sleeping Bear races typically sell out, so signing up earlier rather than later is a good idea. Joel shares how his most recent Ironman was absolutely amazing..until the run portion (a full marathon after hours of swimming and biking!). Heather asks how he stay motivated throughout 26.2, when things got especially tough (heat played a role as well), and in hindsight what he would have done differently during his training. 
 
This episode is sponsored by Traverse City Tourism. Corn Briggs, digital marketing manager for Traverse City Tourism (and a runner herself), stops by the studio to share upcoming events in the area, including a bunch of opportunities to enjoy up north wine to celebrate Michigan's wine month in May. 
 
Links: enduranceevolution.com 
traversecity.com
Apr 17, 2017
This summer Heather is looking forward to running her first Lake Michigan Half Marathon. This is a longtime Muskegon, Mich. event that takes place Saturday, June 24 this year. This race weekend also includes the Mercy Health Seaway Run, a 15K and 5K run and community walk. Race Director Andrew Buikema joins Heather on the show to talk about this race tradition in west Michigan, as well as the numerous changes taking place at this year's event (the start and finish, as well as post-race party, take place on downtown streets). Andrew, who lives in Norton Shores, took on the race director role this year. He talks about his own running journey, which includes returning to running not too long ago after many years of living a pretty sedentary and unhealthy lifestyle. "I got back into running about 4 years ago after a long time of inactivity and gaining an enormous amount of weight. I led a very unhealthy lifestyle of eating and zero activity. I finally decided to turn my life around and get back in to running," he says. "My brother paced me at my first half marathon and pushed my harder than I could have imagined. It was then that I realized that I need to keep doing this if I am going to set the example for my two daughters. Andrew is also a pacer and talks about what it's like to help other runners achieve their goals. "I have had the pleasure of pacing for several races since getting back in to running all over. I've paced in Michigan, Illinois and South Carolina...with that experience I have also taken over the Race Director job for the Mercy Health Seaway Run / Lake Michigan Half Marathon, pace director for the Rivertown Half, Charlevoix Half / Full and the Fifth Third River Bank Run pacers." Andrew is a member of the Grand Haven Running Club (Grand Haven, MI) "I love the camaraderie that all runners share. Everyone has a story and it's awesome getting to know them, who they are and WHY they run." A special MRG listener/reader race discount code is shared during the episode, for runners to save money when they sign up for the June 24 race. More than 3,000 runners are expected to take part in the Mercy Health Seaway Run and Lake Michigan Half Marathon. A health expo also is part of race weekend, and Heather will be there with a MRG booth. 
 
Link: http://seawayrun.com
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
Have you heard? The MRG Podcast features new episodes each week. Tune in here >>
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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.
 

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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.
 
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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/

 

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