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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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Jul 22, 2021

An epic mountain backpacking trip with fellow veterans, getting back to racing in person (and snagging a podium finish), race planning during a pandemic — these are some of things west Michigan runner Eddie Kline has been up to so far this summer. Oh, and there's that new podcast he also just launched: Run MI West Coast, a show for runners interested in the Holland Haven Marathon, Half Marathon & 8K, held each September, races around west Michigan, and running in general. 

If you're signed up for this year's Holland Haven races on Sept. 12, or you've been thinking about getting an early fall race on your calendar, you won't want to miss this episode. Eddie has a few new updates to share about this year's races, now in their 8th year, plus there's a race discount code shared. 

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Learn more about the Holland Haven Marathon, Half Marathon & 8K in Holland, Michigan here.

FIND MRG and HEATHER:

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@michiganrunnergirl on Instagram

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Drop Heather a note at heather@michiganrunnergirl.com

Jul 13, 2021

Following her recent trail race — her first in-person trail race in over a year and a half, Ragnar Trail Michigan, at the end of June — Heather shares the joy (and, OK, occasional pain) of going off road and into the woods for a run (maybe even in the middle of the night, as was the case at Ragnar). Knowing that trail running can feel intimidating to those of us who haven’t done much, if any, of it, Heather shares what has helped her come to absolutely love running on dirt paths, switchbacks, single tracks, even root-covered routes deep in the woods. She also rounded up some great tips from her fellow trail running friends who also took on Ragnar Trail.

Other topics covered during this episode:

Running the National Cherry Festival Festival of Races this past weekend in Traverse City

A call for MRG columnists

MRG Book Club news

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 on iTunes. This will help more runners and Michigan lovers like yourself find the podcasts. Thank you!! Also, the quickest way to get the podcasts is to subscribe to the show via iTunes or via Stitcher or your favorite podcast app. A special thanks to the talented Jonny Tornga for producing the show.

FIND MRG and HEATHER:

@michiganrunnergirlshow on Instagram

@michiganrunnergirl on Instagram

@michigan-runner-girl on Facebook

Drop Heather a note at heather@michiganrunnergirl.com

 
Jun 29, 2021

It’s safe to say that the Michigan race scene is really getting back on its feet, now that pandemic restrictions have been lifted. And for those of us who have greatly missed toeing start lines, cheering one another on through the miles, and triumphantly crossing finish lines, it’s exciting to be adding summer and fall race events to our calendars. 

A July must-run racing event in northern Michigan? The Meijer Festival of Races that is part of the National Cherry Festival in Traverse City, Mich. These Saturday, July 10 races are back in person — and also remain a virtual option. Events include the Priority Health 5K, 10K, McKinley Challenge 15K, and half marathon.

Kat Paye, executive director of the National Cherry Festival, and Alex Zelinski, director of corporate partnerships, join Heather on the show to talk about this year’s races, which has some changes, including an all-new finish line at The Open Space in downtown (previously, the races ended on Front Street). Kat and Alex share what runners and spectators can expect on race day and throughout the weeklong festival. They also talk about a newer virtual running event — the Michigan Harvest Challenge that kicks off in July and runs through October — and how it came about as part of the creative and innovative brainstorming the team did throughout the pandemic to stay connected with festival-goers and runners and walkers.  

And yep, you’ll get cherries once you complete your Festival of Races run. Learn more and register here. And learn more about the multi-run Michigan Harvest Challenge — happening now through October — here.

Kat, Alex, and Heather also chat about favorite places to explore in Michigan (the U.P. tops all three of their lists), Alex's plans to conquer another half marathon this fall, and Kat's sprint workouts (chasing after her toddler) at the Civic Center in Traverse City.

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 on iTunes. This will help more runners and Michigan lovers like yourself find the podcasts. Thank you!! Also, the quickest way to get the podcasts is to subscribe to the show via iTunes or via Stitcher or your favorite podcast app. A special thanks to the talented Jonny Tornga for producing the show.

FIND MRG and HEATHER:

@michiganrunnergirlshow on Instagram

@michiganrunnergirl on Instagram

@michigan-runner-girl on Facebook

Drop Heather a note at heather@michiganrunnergirl.com

Jun 22, 2021

"You're not meant to be a runner."

"You don't have to run to lose weight."

"You should find something else to enjoy."

These are the statements that ran through Maria Yeager's mind — actual comments made to her in the past — earlier this year when, after crushing the miles on her treadmill and pushing herself hard during high intensity interval training with a friend, she got injured. It was a stubborn injury, in fact, and refused to heal even after Maria, a Petoskey, Mich. physical therapist assistant, did all the right things to make it better.

But Maria pushed these thoughts aside and grew even more determined. "I was not ready to give up running just yet," she says of her plan to tackle the three races on her schedule for 2021 — races that had been cancelled in 2020 because of the pandemic. 

This month, Maria finished a 10K in Charlevoix — her first in-person race since 2019. She's mountain biking with her husband whenever she can, and she's also continuing to build strength and stability to aid her running endurance. She joins Heather on the show to talk about her running journey, which started in 2012 not long after graduating college, and how she went on to lose 75 pounds, run her first 5K, then a half marathon, and has pushed herself in ways she never would have imagined. 

"What I've learned is that it's OK to have multiple chapters in your life open. Just because one thing has set you back, don't let that get you down," she says. "Exercise to me is my mental de-stress — that is how I get a handle on it."

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 on iTunes. This will help more runners and Michigan lovers like yourself find the podcasts. Thank you!! Also, the quickest way to get the podcasts is to subscribe to the show via iTunes or via Stitcher or your favorite podcast app. A special thanks to the talented Jonny Tornga for producing the show.

FIND MRG and HEATHER:

@michiganrunnergirlshow on Instagram

@michiganrunnergirl on Instagram

@michigan-runner-girl on Facebook

Drop Heather a note at heather@michiganrunnergirl.com

Jun 11, 2021

Five years ago this month—June 2016—Heather did something she'd never done before: she completed a triathlon. After a decade of running and adding distance to her races, up to the marathon distance, she'd decided it was time to try something new, to shake things up a bit. "I wanted to stretch myself, go outside my comfort zone … and also, honestly, give my body something of a break from strictly running road and trail races."

She'd gotten into road biking and was really beginning to enjoy it, "mostly because I felt more confident about my riding skills and knowledge (I understood the gears, the clipping in and out without falling over!)," she shares. "It also became something Joe and I liked doing together, especially on the weekends when we got up early on a Saturday or a Sunday morning, rode our bikes on the paved path from our hilly neighborhood and into downtown Traverse City, where we’d usually reward our efforts with brunch." 

Heather also started thinking about swimming as a form of exercise. "The idea of a triathlon entered my mind. I had friends who had become triathletes, I was talking with race directors about their events that included triathlons ... and I just couldn’t deny that I was intrigued. Why not try it? Why not see if I could do this?"

Heather's first triathlon was the all-women's Tri Goddess Tri, which takes place each June in southeast Michigan. Eva Solomon, co-founder of Epic Races (which is behind Tri Goddess Tri) joins Heather on the show to talk about this beginner-friendly triathlon.

Also joining the conversation is Chris Forte, of Why Bars, a great-tasting bar made right here in Michigan. WhyBars is the superfood snack bar sponsor of Tri Goddess Tri, which takes place at the end of this month. In fact, it’s a whole experience -- Tri Goddess Tri Multisport Festival is Saturday and Sunday, June 26-27 and includes a sprint tri, aquabike event, duathlon, mini sprint, relay, and new for 2021, a swimrun event option. 

Heather, Eva, and Chris cover all of the details of this in-person, super beginner-friendly event during this episode. They also talk about Why Bars, how this company got started, their commitment to plant-based, tasty, and all-natural ingredients, and so much more.

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 on iTunes. This will help more runners and Michigan lovers like yourself find the podcasts. Thank you!! Also, the quickest way to get the podcasts is to subscribe to the show via iTunes or via Stitcher or your favorite podcast app. A special thanks to the talented Jonny Tornga for producing the show.

FIND MRG and HEATHER:

@michiganrunnergirlshow on Instagram

@michiganrunnergirl on Instagram

@michigan-runner-girl on Facebook

Drop Heather a note at heather@michiganrunnergirl.com

 

Jun 4, 2021

Runner, mom, fan of craft beer, wine, and traveling — this is how blogger Emily White describes herself on her Instagram account, where she shares her love of movement, racing (23 Ragnar Relays and counting!), and staying connected with the many friends she’s made throughout her running journey. 

Emily, who grew up in Flint, Mich., has a deep love of northern Michigan, and now lives with her husband and their teenage son in Arizona, joins Heather on the podcast to talk about her evolving relationship with running, dealing with injuries and getting older, her passion for all things Ragnar, life during the pandemic (both she and her husband were furloughed), starting a new job at the beginning of this year, and what she’s most looking forward to in 2021.

“Over the last year, I have alternated back and forth between different injuries — and still have an IT band/hip injury that I'm dealing with. During the pandemic, I haven't felt like I have been missing out on much, since there weren't any races or racecations for me to attend. But now, as things are opening back up, I'm trying to fall back into my old routine of running a few half marathons a year (and lots of ragnars!), and honestly don't know if it is realistic … I fear that some of that may be behind me. I used to have a 50 state goal where I wanted to run a half (or full) in each state. I'm only at 16 states right now and see very little chance of ever achieving it, now that my body is reacting this way.”

“I've embraced walking, and really enjoy weight lifting, but I miss the camaraderie of racing. Things will definitely look different going forward, but as long as we are staying active, I guess that is all that truly matters.” 

Heather and Emily got to know each other through the Michigan Runner Girl community and Ragnar Michigan, the latter of which they did together as part of Team MRG a couple of years ago. During their conversation, they talk about the similarities in their evolving running journeys and talk about the hope they’re both feeling at this point of the pandemic and as life starts to return to some semblance of normalcy.

May 21, 2021

“It was absolutely the best day.”

This is how Tony Anderson, who began a journey of completing a marathon in all 50 states to raise money for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northwestern Michigan, an organization near and dear to his heart, describes his final 26.2 mile race. It was the culmination of 17 years of running marathons -- he ultimately ran a total of 51, including Washington, D.C. -- to support Big Brothers Big Sisters and those final miles proved incredibly meaningful. 

“Marathon #1 was in Traverse City in 2003, and so for the last one to be in Traverse City -- pandemic aside, as bad and as awful as that has been -- there really was no better way to end it,” Tony says of running a 26.2-mile route that, because of COVID, wasn’t a traditional race but rather one that was mapped out in northern Michigan just for the occasion. Ultimately, it was an event equally if not more memorable. “There wasn’t a better day than that last one. I got to run a marathon in front of everybody I care about. 26 miles of family, co-workers and friends and community.” 

Tony is a proud husband, dad, and grandpa who serves as general manager of Cherryland Electric Cooperative. He’s been on the MRG show in the past to talk about his amazing journey (listen to this episode from 2017 and read more about Tony’s journey and its beginnings in this MRG blog post), and he joins Heather and fellow runner and Big Brothers Big Sisters supporter Chris Girrbach on this latest episode about tackling epic adventures and goals in the name of supporting children in need. 

Chris Girrbach, a dad and local business owner in Traverse City, was inspired by Tony and has decided to embark on a 15-20 year journey to help raise awareness and funding for Big Brothers Big Sisters. He is aiming to participate in 50 triathlons in 50 states, with a plan of 3-4 triathlons a year. 

“I’ve learned a lot about Big Brothers Big Sisters over the past several years, and the many challenges and heartaches the children in this program face. I wanted to do my part to help BIGS the best way I know how. Some kids get the short end of the stick, and Bigs makes a world of difference to those kids, so it’s the least I can do.”

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 on iTunes. This will help more runners and Michigan lovers like yourself find the podcasts. Thank you!! Also, the quickest way to get the podcasts is to subscribe to the show via iTunes or via Stitcher or your favorite podcast app. A special thanks to the talented Jonny Tornga for producing the show.

 

FIND MRG and HEATHER:

@michiganrunnergirlshow on Instagram

@michiganrunnergirl on Instagram

@michigan-runner-girl on Facebook

Drop Heather a note at heather@michiganrunnergirl.com

Apr 30, 2021

“I’ve been making healthier choices for me and feeling better about myself ... I feel like I have a lot more mental strength now than what I had in my 20s.” 

Petoskey, Mich. runner Spencer Tulk reflects on the past few years of her journey as a runner in this special listener running journey episode. 

Spencer, 31, is among the MRG podcast listeners and MRG blog readers who sent in stories of where they’re at with their running right now. Heather had put a call out for stories during the episode in which she shared her own evolving relationship with running. The MRG Show will be featuring these listener and reader stories in upcoming episodes, and we’re kicking off this series with Spencer’s story, which includes working toward the half marathon distance and experiencing a knee injury, embracing the run-walk method of exercise, changing jobs during the pandemic, and much more. 

“I’m moving and I’m happy and I think that’s the biggest thing we can do for ourselves this year.” 

Tune in to hear Spencer share her story -- and be sure to send in your story, if you’d like to do so. Heather and the MRG team would love to hear from you! Email heather@michiganrunnergirl.com with your written or recorded story.

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 on iTunes. This will help more runners and Michigan lovers like yourself find the podcasts. Thank you!! Also, the quickest way to get the podcasts is to subscribe to the show via iTunes or via Stitcher or your favorite podcast app. A special thanks to the talented Jonny Tornga for producing the show.

FIND MRG and HEATHER:

@michiganrunnergirlshow on Instagram

@michiganrunnergirl on Instagram

@michigan-runner-girl on Facebook

Drop Heather a note at heather@michiganrunnergirl.com 

Apr 22, 2021

“We just want to put on a safe event and get back to racing.” ~Andrew Buikema, west Michigan race director, marathoner, recent BQ-qualifer(!).

Andrew shares this sentiment — and many other heartfelt thoughts — during a candid conversation with two other experienced Michigan race directors, that touches on so much: the current state of racing, the ups and downs of planning events during the pandemic, how we’re coping and staying active during these challenging times, silver linings we’re experiencing, and what we all can expect with racing event in the months to come. Eva Solomon, co-founder and owner of Epic Races, a southeast Michigan race management company, and Eddie Kline, founder and race director of Holland Haven Marathon, Half Marathon and 8K, also are part of this honest conversation. 

If you’ve ever wondered how the pandemic and its many twists and turns have affected our beloved races and the talented people behind them, this episode reveals all. It sheds light on what it’s truly like behind the scenes, especially now. From working with fewer volunteers and re-imagining what a successful event can look like, Andrew, Eva, and Eddie offer an authentic, and ultimately hopeful, view of running and racing during and after COVID.

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If you enjoy what you’re hearing on the Michigan Runner Girl show, we’d be so, so grateful if you’d take a few moments to write a review on iTunes. This will help more runners and Michigan lovers like yourself find the podcasts. Thank you!! Also, the quickest way to get the podcasts is to subscribe to the show via iTunes or via Stitcher or your favorite podcast app. A special thanks to the talented Jonny Tornga for producing the show.

FIND MRG and HEATHER:

@michiganrunnergirlshow on Instagram

@michiganrunnergirl on Instagram

@michigan-runner-girl on Facebook

Drop Heather a note at heather@michiganrunnergirl.com 

Apr 13, 2021

"But I think there’s something else at play. I feel my running evolving. I’m not exactly sure what this means, what it’ll look like. Some days I feel sure my speedier and marathon days are behind me. Other days I think, 'What makes me think I don’t have more in me and will be conquering some amazing things yet?'"

Heather gets honest about her running journey these days and shares stories from members of the MRG community in this updates episode. Getting older, living through a pandemic, experiencing injuries and health issues — these are things that are causing us to reflect, change our perspectives, maybe look at life and our love of movement in different and unexpected ways. 

"I’ve been having many of the same thoughts as I age," says Lisa H. "I think for me the most important thing is to be the healthiest version of myself that I can be. I need to stay in balance and not compare myself to others. I thank God I can still run and enjoy movement! It’s more about my mental health now than proving how fast I am to myself as I get older."

"Maybe I shouldn’t be writing the rest of the book yet, as if I know exactly how it’ll end," Heather shares. "Maybe what I need to do is think about different chapters to add to my narrative—chapters that my younger self couldn’t have imagined but are essential parts of my story nonetheless."

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If you enjoy what you’re hearing on the Michigan Runner Girl show, we’d be so, so grateful if you’d take a few moments to write a review on iTunes. This will help more runners and Michigan lovers like yourself find the podcasts. Thank you!! Also, the quickest way to get the podcasts is to subscribe to the show via iTunes or via Stitcher or your favorite podcast app. A special thanks to the talented Jonny Tornga for producing the show.

FIND MRG and HEATHER:

@michiganrunnergirlshow on Instagram

@michiganrunnergirl on Instagram

@michigan-runner-girl on Facebook

Drop Heather a note at heather@michiganrunnergirl.com 

 
 
Mar 23, 2021

If you could spend your summer exploring rustic state forest campgrounds all across Michigan — traveling to these scenic spots in both the lower and upper peninsulas by RV, your best four-legged companion joining to keep you company — would you jump at the opportunity? Would you maybe even propose such a trip to your boss? 

Paige Lackey, a Huron Pines AmeriCorps service member serving with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, did just that — she came up with this travel idea and proposed it to her team at the DNR. Why? Paige is an outdoor lover and absolutely passionate about her community and the environment, but this adventure is rooted in something pretty significant and long-lasting for the DNR, too: it's a way to gather important information about rustic state forest campgrounds that ultimately will help make these experiences more accessible for future travelers. 

Paige talks about her upcoming trek around Michigan — she'll be traveling with her dog Willow in a 31-foot RV donated by General RV — and how this is a "woman-powered" adventure. Ami Van Antwerp, communications specialist with the Michigan DNR, also joins the conversation — she's been heavily involved in planning this epic adventure and will be assisting Paige virtually throughout the journey. 

Starting next month and throughout summer, Paige is scheduled to visit 77 rustic state forest campgrounds, collecting data along the way that will be managed and analyzed for use in the DNR's Recreation Search database. The Recreation Search allows visitors to learn more about Michigan state parks and recreation areas (and campgrounds), state forest campgrounds, overnight lodging facilities, nonmotorized trails, park events and much more. This search features filters to search for amenities and activities you are most interested in, such as beaches, equestrian trails, cabins, hiking, mountain biking and others. (More information can also be found at Michigan.gov/StateParks.)

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FIND MRG and HEATHER:

@michiganrunnergirlshow on Instagram

@michiganrunnergirl on Instagram

@michigan-runner-girl on Facebook

Drop Heather a note at heather@michiganrunnergirl.com 

If you enjoy what you’re hearing on the Michigan Runner Girl show, we’d be so, so grateful if you’d take a few moments to write a review on iTunes. This will help more runners and Michigan lovers like yourself find the podcasts. Thank you!! Also, the quickest way to get the podcasts is to subscribe to the show via iTunes or via Stitcher or your favorite podcast app. A special thanks to the talented Jonny Tornga for producing the show.

 

Mar 15, 2021

When we put the call out for questions — the burning questions, running and otherwise — that you wanted to ask Heather and Jonny, who knew you’d ask so many? And that Heather and Jonny’s conversation would go on for as long as it did?! Well, we kind of had a feeling there would be a bunch of questions (the MRG community is awesome like that) and as for Heather and Jonny talking for 2+ hours (yep, true story), that’s basically a given when you get two passionate runners together and time to talk about their favorite sport and all the ways they love staying healthy and active with friends and family here in the Great Lakes State. Truth be told, they probably could have chatted even longer. 

From staying motivated (during COVID times and also at any time, really), getting started as a runner, and finding creative ways to incorporate your favorite meals into your running routine, to searching for (and finding) your next best running friends, figuring out your ideal race training plan, and knowing what fuel is going to work well with you and your body, Jonny and Heather cover it all. They also share memorable running moments they’ll always treasure. Catch up with Heather, founder of MRG, and Jonny, MRG podcast producer, in this latest episode.

FIND MRG and HEATHER:

@michiganrunnergirlshow on Instagram

@michiganrunnergirl on Instagram

@michigan-runner-girl on Facebook

Drop Heather a note at heather@michiganrunnergirl.com 

If you enjoy what you’re hearing on the Michigan Runner Girl show, we’d be so, so grateful if you’d take a few moments to write a review on iTunes. This will help more runners and Michigan lovers like yourself find the podcasts. Thank you!! Also, the quickest way to get the podcasts is to subscribe to the show via iTunes or via Stitcher or your favorite podcast app. A special thanks to the talented Jonny Tornga for producing the show.

 

Mar 2, 2021

“I always like to think that when you have all the freedom in the world, creativity maybe doesn’t come so easily. But when you have constraints placed upon you, that’s when you have to get creative. And that’s what I think happened to the world, to much of the world, in 2020.” ~Joel Gaff, Jr., dad of two, triathlete, and race director, small business owner

Like everybody else this past year, Joel Gaff and his team at race management and timing services company Endurance Evolution were faced with tough decisions about keeping the business going strong. “We were wondering, what can we do? How can we pivot? The whole world was trying to pivot at the same time, which just spawned so many cool new things.”

For Joel, creativity went into overdrive. As tough as things were at times, opportunities began presenting themselves — and Joel decided the time was right to take some leaps. 

Within the past couple of months, he made big changes with Endurance Evolution: the company’s timing services and racing events, including the Traverse City Trail Running Festival, Glen Arbor Solstice Half Marathon and 5K, Traverse City Triathlon, and Sleeping Bear Marathon, were acquired Race Day Events, an event production company in Madison, Wis. “I’m more confident than ever in the long-term success that these events will have, as well as being able to continue to provide first-class timing services to our clients in northwest lower Michigan and beyond,” Joel says.

Joel also launched Traverse City Run Co. a running brand that “celebrates the sun, snow, hills, water, community, and all that makes running in Northern Michigan so special.” 

“I had been wanting to start Traverse City Run Co. for about five or six years, but the time was never ‘right’ to make it happen,” he says. “I was always putting it on the back burner, and never giving the idea the attention it needed.” 

Along with offering “fresh running goods,” Traverse City Run Co. is seeking content ambassadors and eventually will have a run team — Joel is excited to build a community of like-minded individuals. As the website shares, “We are runners of all shapes, sizes, speeds, and abilities. We love to run.  We love Traverse City. We love Michigan.” 

FIND MRG and HEATHER:

@michiganrunnergirlshow on Instagram

@michiganrunnergirl on Instagram

@michigan-runner-girl on Facebook

Drop Heather a note at heather@michiganrunnergirl.com 

If you enjoy what you’re hearing on the Michigan Runner Girl show, we’d be so, so grateful if you’d take a few moments to write a review on iTunes. This will help more runners and Michigan lovers like yourself find the podcasts. Thank you!! Also, the quickest way to get the podcasts is to subscribe to the show via iTunes or via Stitcher or your favorite podcast app. A special thanks to the talented Jonny Tornga for producing the show.

Feb 9, 2021

Upcoming virtual races and challenges, in-person events planned for this summer and fall, and special savings -- this short and sweet episode packs a punch!

Tune in to hear updates from Heather, including what you can expect on upcoming episodes of the podcast (all the details for this summer and fall Ragnar Michigan relays coming soon!). Also shared on this episode: show topics you may have missed, and discount codes — for both races and also a piece of clothing Heather is absolutely loving right now (hint: it's keeping her warm during these FRIGID February days). And, there's something very special for all you book lovers out there.

FIND MRG and HEATHER:

@michiganrunnergirlshow on Instagram

@michiganrunnergirl on Instagram

@michigan-runner-girl on Facebook

Drop Heather a note at heather@michiganrunnergirl.com 

If you enjoy what you’re hearing on the Michigan Runner Girl show, we’d be so, so grateful if you’d take a few moments to write a review on iTunes. This will help more runners and Michigan lovers like yourself find the podcasts. Thank you!! Also, the quickest way to get the podcasts is to subscribe to the show via iTunes or via Stitcher or your favorite podcast app. A special thanks to the talented Jonny Tornga for producing the show.

Jan 30, 2021

Maia Turek considers herself a positive person (those who know her undoubtedly would agree), but she recently realized something else about herself, thanks to working closely with a health coach: she has had a habit of talking negatively -- in a self-deprecating way -- to herself and to others, when it comes to how she views her relationship with food. 

It was an eye-opening discovery, she says, and one that has led to a complete mind shift for the 42-year-old runner, cyclist, and mom of one. “Do you know how much mental energy we put into focusing on being the shape we think we’re supposed to be, or the size we think we’re supposed to be?”

Maia, a regular MRG podcast guest, shares her experience working with Leah Doriot, a health coach, runner, and past MRG podcast guest (check out episode #108 with Kathrine Switzer). The timing felt right for Maia to work with someone who could help her understand the “why” behind some of her food and behavior decisions. 

One takeaway: “I’m not going on a diet. I am upgrading what I put in my body.”

“I was very frustrated. I have very bad habits. I know what I need to do to lose weight, I know what I am supposed to do, how I am supposed to do it … but I just don’t do it. I needed the tools -- what are the tools I need in my toolkit to be better at having either the willpower or to be a better advocate for myself? I went from this is going to be a three-month process, to this is going to take a couple of years. But I think I have to. I have made these habits over 42 years, so undoing them or reframing them is going to take a while.”

Maia, who is a resource development specialist for the Michigan Department of Natural Resources Parks and Recreation division, also shares the latest Michigan Department of Natural Resources updates, including activities to enjoy at state parks this winter and how trail usage remains at record levels.

We also have a fun conversation about her newfound love of road biking, Michigan's thousands of lakes, and just how long it would take to bike around all of them. (Maia figured it out!)

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100 things to do this winter at Michigan state parks

FIND MRG and HEATHER:

@michiganrunnergirlshow on Instagram

@michiganrunnergirl on Instagram

@michigan-runner-girl on Facebook

If you enjoy what you’re hearing on the Michigan Runner Girl show, we’d be so, so grateful if you’d take a few moments to write a review on iTunes. This will help more runners and Michigan lovers like yourself find the podcasts. Thank you!! Also, the quickest way to get the podcasts is to subscribe to the show via iTunes or via Stitcher or your favorite podcast app. A special thanks to the talented Jonny Tornga for producing the show.

Jan 19, 2021

Life during a pandemic can lead us down paths we may not have gone down otherwise — some not so good, of course, but also some that ultimately change our lives in positive ways. 

For Janice Davidson, these past several months have been a time of big life changes, one of which was leaving her job at a northern Michigan ski resort after 20 years. Janice, who oversaw recreation programming at Crystal Mountain Resort in Thompsonville, Mich. and helped start its North Mitten Half Marathon, 10K & 5K, determined the time was right to start a new chapter of her life. “I wanted to refocus my passion and give back and spend more time at home with my children,” says Janice, 45, and mom to a 14-year-old daughter and 11-year-old son. 

Janice is a runner, mother, passionate environmentalist, and new small business owner — she’s behind the company North Mitten, which is focused on “people and planet health.” Leaving Crystal was bittersweet — she loved her time there and the people with whom she worked — but she’ll stay connected with the popular up north destination. She bought the rights to the North Mitten races and plans to continue the Memorial Day weekend race tradition, at Crystal Mountain, with her own personal touches on the event.

Janice talks about plans for a hopefully in-person spring race, as well as ideas and dreams for other events and adventures as part of her new business. She also shares a race discount code for listeners — be sure to sign up if you’re looking for a great spring race in northern Michigan!

FIND NORTH MITTEN:

Check out the North Mitten Facebook page here.

Learn more about Crystal Mountain and register for the race here.

FIND MRG and HEATHER:

@michiganrunnergirlshow on Instagram

@michiganrunnergirl on Instagram

@michigan-runner-girl on Facebook

If you enjoy what you’re hearing on the Michigan Runner Girl show, we’d be so, so grateful if you’d take a few moments to write a review on iTunes. This will help more runners and Michigan lovers like yourself find the podcasts. Thank you!! Also, the quickest way to get the podcasts is to subscribe to the show via iTunes or via Stitcher or your favorite podcast app. A special thanks to the talented Jonny Tornga for producing the show.

 



Dec 31, 2020

“My mind was just not in it for some reason, and I go through that a lot — my brain just doesn’t want to do it, even though my legs, and physically, I feel completely fine. Sometimes in your head, you don’t want to get out there for some reason. But I love what Des Linden always says. She says, keep showing up. And you know she’s also said before, the hardest part of a run is putting on your shoes and getting out the door. So I think about that a lot of times. I just force myself to get out there.

“In those times, it’s especially crucial to get out there and get the run in. Because the sport is so mental and I think we forget to exercise our brain and our minds ... we can get so stuck in the physical side of it and strengthening those muscles. But the brain is a muscle, too.” 

In this final episode of 2020, former collegiate runner, marathoner, and blogger Jackie Reneaud shares how her relationship with running has changed over the years, during her time running for Northwood University and also as an adult navigating a full-time job and moving back home during the pandemic. Jackie, 24, is from Goodrich, Mich. and grew up in a running family. (Her first race? The Crim Diaper Dash.) You may know Jackie from Instagram, where she is JackieRunsALatte.

FIND JACKIE:

@jackierunsalatte on Instagram

Jackie Runs 

FIND HEATHER:

@michiganrunnergirl on Instagram

@michigan-runner-girl on Facebook

If you enjoy what you’re hearing on the Michigan Runner Girl show, we’d be so, so grateful if you’d take a few moments to write a review on iTunes. This will help more runners and Michigan lovers like yourself find the podcasts. Thank you!! Also, the quickest way to get the podcasts is to subscribe to the show via iTunes or via Stitcher or your favorite podcast app. A special thanks to the talented Jonny Tornga for producing the show.

 

Dec 16, 2020

As local businesses in Michigan and across the U.S. continue to adjust and adapt to pandemic-related closures and pauses, and resulting in-store capacity restrictions, the holiday season marches on. Things just look decidedly different this year, to say the least, for shop owners and their customers. The great news: stores are getting very creative in how they’re connecting with their customers, and we shoppers are thankful for these efforts. (Still need a few gifts for the runners and active lifestyle friends and family in your life? We’ve got you covered with this episode.)

This special holiday episode is a live recording — with all safety precautions in place, of course, from social distancing to mask-wearing — at Running Fit in downtown Traverse City. Heather sat down with Running Fit managers Jennifer Teeples and Alison Goss Shaw and Jonny Tornga, assistant manager of downtown’s Lululemon pop-up shop, to talk about what it’s been like to operate a small business during COVID — including how stores have collaborated and helped one another out more than ever to get through these tough times. 

“Pretty much anybody who is in the athletic industry down here is in touch with each other,” Alison says. “That’s always been the case for downtown, here in Traverse City, but it’s even more so now,” adds Jonny. “The lines of communication are really open … All of the stores are coming together and trying to come up with unique solutions to the challenges we’re all facing.”

Jonny, Jen, and Alison also let us know about the latest and greatest athletic clothing and gear options, especially for winter running and other outdoor exploring. You’ll definitely get some great ideas for those last-minute gifts on your list — for your best running friend, or for you. We also talk about ways we’re all staying motivated to keep moving forward, during the pandemic and no matter the weather. A common theme: having friends to help you along your journey.

FIND RUNNING FIT - TRAVERSE CITY

@runningfit_tcdt/ on Instagram

@runningfitTC on Facebook

FIND LULULEMON - TRAVERSE CITY

Lululemon TC on Facebook 

FIND HEATHER:

@michiganrunnergirl on Instagram

@michigan-runner-girl on Facebook

If you enjoy what you’re hearing on the Michigan Runner Girl show, we’d be so, so grateful if you’d take a few moments to write a review on iTunes. This will help more runners and Michigan lovers like yourself find the podcasts. Thank you!! Also, the quickest way to get the podcasts is to subscribe to the show via iTunes or via Stitcher or your favorite podcast app.  A special thanks to the talented Jonny Tornga for producing the show.

Dec 8, 2020

As of today, Dec. 8, 2020, the U.S. has a rate of close to 200,000 confirmed new infections of coronavirus per day, according to the Centers for Disease Control data center, which is updating daily. Cases in the last seven days alone top one million, and all told, more than 280,000 lives have been lost to COVID-19 in this country. 

We’re all experiencing the pandemic in our own individual ways, and in more recent time, as cases surge across the U.S., and Michigan this week enacted a 12-day extension of the statewide Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) epidemic order, the virus and its myriad impacts continue to find new and challenging ways — and in some cases, personal and devastating ways — of affecting us, as individuals, families, and communities. 

Here at MRG, we wanted to share heartfelt and honest stories of what it’s been like for two northern Michigan runners who recently received a COVID diagnosis. In this episode, we talk not only about what it was like to have COVID, but also what recovery looks like and how it can change our views of running, staying active, and staying connected (while being safe) with our family and friends.

Jonny Tornga, an ultrarunner and trail enthusiast, shares his experience of getting COVID in early November. Jonny, 33, who had been training for a 30ish-mile trail run at the time of his diagnosis, had many of the typical symptoms, including loss of taste and smell.

“It knocked me out pretty good. The road to recovery has been a long one. It’s not easy. I feel like I was in pretty good shape before getting it. I was feeling good. [After the diagnosis] it was amazing the lack of energy I didn’t have — and still don’t have. I feel like I’m lacking in that extra push. The mind is there, but the body doesn’t really want to follow just yet. It’s been a struggle, being that I am an active person. It’s frustrating for sure, to say the least.” 

Kristen Verrett, an avid runner and racer, also received a COVID diagnosis earlier this fall. The 46-year-old remembers going out for some morning miles the day she became sick. 

“I got up and had a really good run. I was feeling good. Later that evening, it hit me. I was tired, I had a fever. I was just exhausted.” 

Kristen didn’t lose her sense of taste or smell, but she did feel nauseous for about a week in addition to feeling run-down and extremely fatigued. At the same time, her husband Kyle got sick and received a COVID diagnosis. Thankfully, their two children — Kylanna, 13, and Keegan, 11 — were OK and did not feel ill. 

Getting back to a running routine has been tough, for both Kristen and Jonny.

“Just like having any injury, you have to listen to your body. One of my first runs after having COVID, my legs were feeling great, they were ready to move, but my body wasn’t. I ended up pulling a muscle in my back. I wasn’t listening to my body, I wish I would have.” 

MRG is grateful to Jonny and Kristen for being willing to share their stories. 

 

Nov 30, 2020

Early on in the COVID-19 pandemic, when face coverings became scarce, Janelle Haselhuhn decided to put her impressive sewing skills to work. The southwest Michigan mom of two young kids, ages 5 and 3, made some 700 masks in just a few short weeks with the help of a small group of volunteers.

Janelle, who shares her sewing creations — including memory quilts and t-shirt blankets, some of which feature race t-shirts, and  — on her Facebook business page MI Sew Haven, joins Heather on the podcast to talk about life as a long-time athlete, runner, seamstress (she makes her own running attire), and now-homeschooling mom. One way she’s making the most of these interesting times? Dressing up every day — she wore a super-cute leopard print jumpsuit, which she made of course, when this episode was recorded — and doing fun things like blasting great music and hosting fancy, dress-up dinner evenings for her family. “I’m a firm believer in what you wear directly affects how you feel. It just makes me feel good to dress up … We do little themes here and there.” 

Janelle, who lives with her husband and their son and daughter in Paw Paw, Mich., credits attending the MRG Winter Weekend Getaway at the start of 2020 — right before life turned upside down for all of us — with helping her believe she could be a year-round outdoor runner. She shares how this winter she is planning to run outside all season long for the first time. She also talks about what the pandemic has taught her, how she’s stayed sane and found a few new hobbies, and how she became a runner following high school and college experiences rowing on a crew team on the Detroit River and trying out the sport of fencing. 

“This has been a really good learning experience, and I hope other people are realizing this, too, that this can be a good time of our lives.” 

FIND JANELLE: 

@jnl.dsgn on Instagram

FIND JANELLE’S SEWING BUSINESS 

Mi Sew Haven on Facebook

FIND HEATHER:

@michiganrunnergirl on Instagram

@michigan-runner-girl on Facebook

If you enjoy what you’re hearing on the Michigan Runner Girl show, we’d be so, so grateful if you’d take a few moments to write a review on iTunes. This will help more runners and Michigan lovers like yourself find the podcasts. Thank you!! Also, the quickest way to get the podcasts is to subscribe to the show via iTunes or via Stitcher or your favorite podcast app.  A special thanks to the talented Jonny Tornga for producing the show.

Nov 19, 2020

Life just keeps getting more and more interesting, doesn’t it? Between the surge in COVID cases, ongoing uncertainty with how things will unfold, a turbulent and divisive political climate, and our efforts to just keep moving forward with our lives, life can feel quite overwhelming. Oh, and the holidays — a very different holiday season — is nearly upon us. <Deep breath>

How are you feeling — really feeling — these days? In this latest episode of the MRG Podcast, Heather shares some honest thoughts on how things are going for her. Most importantly, she talks about the things that are helping her get through and move forward. It’s not easy, but we can do this. We can keep trying. 

From pushing herself to “don’t think, just go” on her early-morning runs and sinking into a really good book, to finding some escape in a funny podcast or keep-you-guessing television show, this update show dishes out some fun, interesting, and thought-provoking motivation and inspiration. 

Podcasts, shows, and books mentioned:

The Undoing on HBO

Smartless, podcast featuring Jason Bateman, Sean Hayes, and Will Arnett

Goop podcast, Nov. 10 episode featuring Gwyneth Paltrow’s conversation with Abby Wambach

MRG BOOK CLUB - join us! Latest reads:

Writers & Lovers by Lily King

Monogamy by Sue Miller

Troubles in Paradise by Elin Hilderbrand

FIND HEATHER:

@michiganrunnergirl on Instagram

@michigan-runner-girl on Facebook

Thanks to Great Lakes Treats and Catering for supporting the Michigan Runner Girl Show. Please check out this amazing northern Michigan, locally-owned business.

If you enjoy what you’re hearing on the Michigan Runner Girl show, we’d be so, so grateful if you’d take a few moments to write a review on iTunes. This will help more runners and Michigan lovers like yourself find the podcasts. Thank you!! Also, the quickest way to get the podcasts is to subscribe to the show via iTunes or via Stitcher or your favorite podcast app.  A special thanks to the talented Jonny Tornga for producing the show.

Nov 3, 2020

“Giving myself grace throughout 2020 has helped me exponentially.” 

The lovely and inspiring Sasha Wolff, founder of Michigan-based Still I Run, returns to the MRG Show — she last joined Heather for an honest conversation about mental health and wellness just after starting her non-profit in late 2016 — to share how Still I Run has grown. This “community of warriors promoting the benefits of running for mental health” now has 8,000 members. These are runners not only in Michigan but aross the country. 

Still I Run includes a charity running team, a “Run, Write, Fight” letter initiative, scholarship program, ambassador opportunities, and a virtual 5K on World Mental Health Day, among other activities and programs. Sasha, a mom of two and marathoner who recently ran a virtual Boston Marathon in her beloved Grand Rapids, Michigan, has even more plans for Still I Run: “I want this to be a nationwide movement.” 

Sasha, 35, was recently recognized as one of the recipients of the Grand Rapids Business Journal’s 40 Under 40 award. This annual recognition highlights 40 individuals under the age of 40 making a difference in West Michigan. Since 2002, the Grand Rapids Business Journal has awarded over 600 dynamic young professionals who have achieved personal success and made significant civic contributions to our community.

She also was featured, alongside four other females, in Women’s Running Magazine in May 2019. The article, which was titled “5 Courageous Women Who Are Running Down Mental Health Stigmas,” gave Wolff the opportunity to share about her nonprofit, Still I Run-Runners for Mental Health Awareness.

FIND HEATHER:

@michiganrunnergirl on Instagram

@michigan-runner-girl on Facebook

If you enjoy what you’re hearing on the Michigan Runner Girl show, we’d be so, so grateful if you’d take a few moments to write a review on iTunes. This will help more runners and Michigan lovers like yourself find the podcasts. Thank you!! Also, the quickest way to get the podcasts is to subscribe to the show via iTunes or via Stitcher or your favorite podcast app.  A special thanks to the talented Jonny Tornga for producing the show.

Oct 21, 2020

Erin Goldman, a yoga/ meditation teacher, and Tara Rybicki, a registered dietician nutritionist, return to talk about taking care of our heart, our mind, and our body. Erin and Tara are behind northern Michigan-based Love Body, a program that focuses on the practice of self-love. 

We all know the importance of treating ourselves well, but in reality, in our everyday lives -- especially now, 8+ months into a global pandemic -- what does self-love actually mean and look like?

Love Body Wisdom

Love Body works because we focus on your core desire.  This yields real transformation, real fulfillment and lasting change, rather than a temporary shift of the numbers on your scale.

We are fully committed to supporting you in living a joyful, soulful, meaningful life as your beautiful and wild self.

Tara and Erin were guests on the MRG podcast earlier this year -- in late February,  literally a couple of weeks before COVID-19 turned everything upside down -- and we talked about Love Body and their recent launch of this program and how they were connecting with women in particular. We talked a lot about mindfulness and this show ended up being a very popular one -- and a timely one as life stress took on an entirely new meaning in the following weeks, for all of us. 

Love Body Today

I invited Tara and Erin back on the show, to see how they’ve been navigating these interesting times, what they’ve learned -- and what we all can do to help ourselves as we move through the uncertainty. I also wanted to hear what the pandemic has meant for their business -- and they share how this time has been a time of reflection and renewal. While their mission of practicing self-love hasn’t changed, they have, as a result of talking with other women, are re-focusing their business to be what they describe as a soul-centered weight loss program.

Talking with Tara and Erin, I found myself, just like last time we all spoke, feeling a bit calmer and more centered. They have that way about them.

Sign up for the free Love Body inspirational Weekly Wisdom Wednesdays email here.

FIND HEATHER:

@michiganrunnergirl on Instagram

@michigan-runner-girl on Facebook

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If you enjoy what you’re hearing on the Michigan Runner Girl show, we’d be so, so grateful if you’d take a few moments to write a review on iTunes. This will help more runners and Michigan lovers like yourself find the podcasts. Thank you!! Also, the quickest way to get the podcasts is to subscribe to the show via iTunes or via Stitcher or your favorite podcast app.  A special thanks to the talented Jonny Tornga for producing the show.

 
Oct 6, 2020

Five years. Hundreds of inspiring conversations. Countless words of wisdom (thank you, amazing guests!). Three super talented producers (and musicians!). Multiple return guests and co-hosts. Several live audience recordings. Kind and generous celebrity runners and athletes. So many incredible stories of everyday individuals finding their way through this messy, beautiful life -- with help from friends and families and a solid, sweaty workout (or three).

Welcome to the 200th episode of the Michigan Runner Girl Podcast, a show that began five years ago by Heather Durocher, mother, runner, lover of all things Michigan and movement, and founder of MichiganRunnerGirl.com. 

Heather highlights the memorable moments over the past five years -- the guests, the topics, the motivation we all loved -- and talks honestly about the past few months and how the pandemic has impacted the running community and life for anyone who is looking to stay active, find their exercise groove, become a healthier person, and become the best version of themselves. She also shares what COVID has meant for MRG -- and she shares an all-new way listeners and readers can be part of this podcast.

“If you chase anything in life, chase the things that get you excited about living. Chase the things that give you hope, happiness and a glimpse of a better life. Chase the things that make you want to be a better person. Chase the things that inspire you to think, create and live joyfully. Chase the things that reinforce in your soul that you can make a difference. Chase the things that make you want to transform your heart from selfish to selfless. When you chase that kind of storm you are chasing rainbows.”
― Shannon L. Alder

FIND HEATHER:

@michiganrunnergirl on Instagram

@michigan-runner-girl on Facebook

--

If you enjoy what you’re hearing on the Michigan Runner Girl show, we’d be so, so grateful if you’d take a few moments to write a review on iTunes. This will help more runners and Michigan lovers like yourself find the podcasts. Thank you!! Also, the quickest way to get the podcasts is to subscribe to the show via iTunes or via Stitcher or your favorite podcast app. 

A special thanks to the talented Jonny Tornga for producing the show.

Sep 21, 2020

When it comes to trails, there's no place like Michigan. We are home to more than 13,000 miles of state-managed trails, plus thousands of miles of local, county, and federally managed trails and pathways. We all love exploring these trails, and over the next 8 days, a new event that's part of this year's Michigan Trails Week gives us more reasons to get outside and hit the trails.

Michigan Trails Week kicks off today, Sept. 20, and runs through Sept 27. New to trails week this year: the 2020 Michigan Trails Challenge, which invites trail veterans and newcomers alike to join the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and the Michigan Trails and Greenways Alliance on a mission to collectively travel 100,000 miles. 

Michelle Coss, a runner and race director who works at the Michigan DNR, talks about the Challenge and its expected 5,000 participants. Whether you run, hike, ride, or paddle, the Challenge works like this:

-Register for the event (it's free to do so!) here.

-Self-report your treks on nonmotorized trails and earn badges (no limit) for different milestones. Badges enter you in a drawing for cool outdoor gear and Michigan branded prizes -- and help toward the event's 100,000-mile goal.

-Earn a badge when you log at least one mile, as well as every time you horseback ride for 5 miles; or walk, run, or hike for 5 miles; or bike for 10 miles; or paddle for 2 miles.

-Share your miles with the hashtag #everymilecounts

FIND HEATHER:

@michiganrunnergirl on Instagram

@michigan-runner-girl on Facebook

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If you enjoy what you’re hearing on the Michigan Runner Girl show, we’d be so, so grateful if you’d take a few moments to write a review on iTunes. This will help more runners and Michigan lovers like yourself find the podcasts. Thank you!! Also, the quickest way to get the podcasts is to subscribe to the show via iTunes or via Stitcher or your favorite podcast app. 

A special thanks to the talented Jonny Tornga for producing the show.

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