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Michigan Runner Girl

The Michigan Runner Girl podcast is where you'll find a passion for running, hiking, paddling, and cycling crosses paths with a love of nature and outdoor exploration in the beautiful state of Michigan — and beyond. A mother, writer, gigantic Great Lakes fan, and book lover Heather Durocher, creator of the running and travel site MichiganRunnerGirl.com, hosts the show. Expect to hear informative, engaging, and inspiring conversations with others also on their own health and wellness journey. The Michigan Runner Girl podcast is about finding our way, through movement. Season One of 2022 now underway, with a theme of Reconnection.
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May 17, 2022

This very special Bayshore 40th anniversary episode of the MRG Show features a conversation with well-known podcaster and professional race announcer Ali Feller of the Ali on the Run Show.

Ali and her family, who live in New Hampshire, are making their very first visit to Michigan later this month for the Bayshore races, which are celebrating 40 years in a big way: the marathon, half marathon, 10K, and kids fun run all return in person after a two-year break because of the pandemic, and Ali is not only serving as the finish line race announcer, she’s also hosting a live podcast recording featuring elite athlete and northern Michigan resident Des Linden the Thursday before race day on May 28.

If you’ve been listening to the MRG Show for awhile now, you know how meaningful the Bayshore races are to Heather and her family. These Memorial Day weekend races likely are very special to you as well — the half marathon fills quickly each year, as does the 10K. And the marathon is one for the books — incredibly scenic, flat, 26.2 miles of northern Michigan running at its best. These races attract runners from all across the country and even the world. 

If you’re a newer listener and maybe not quite as familiar with the Bayshore races here in Traverse City, you’re going to love this episode just as much as those who have been along for the ride these past nearly 7 years of the MRG show. This conversation with Ali covers not only her involvement in this year’s Bayshore race weekend, but also so much more—how she became a runner while living in New York City, how she met her husband through this sport, her career transition and growing a successful blog and podcast, the passion she has for supporting the Chron's & Colitis Foundation, and in more recent time, the opportunity she’s had to serve as race announcer at both the New York City and Boston marathons. 

With more than 500 episodes, 13 million downloads, and 2,500+ five-star ratings on iTunes, the Ali on the Run Show is one of the leading running podcasts in the world. Every week, Ali talks with inspiring people who are doing exciting things on the run and beyond, from the fastest runners in the world (Des! Molly! Aisha! Emma!), to everyone’s favorite running couples (Steph and Ben! Sara and Ryan!), to the runners who make up the middle and back of the pack. As she explains it, on her podcast, every runner is seen and celebrated, and we all get to pick up the pace together.

 

 

May 10, 2022

"When we don’t live in alignment with our core values, that’s when we open up these little cracks for disappointment, for sadness, and—I’ll go so far as to say—for depression and for anxiety. A lot of these negative things do creep into our lives when we’ve lost the focus on all the positives.”

Dai Manuel, an award-winning digital thought leader and author, joins Heather to talk about his journey of finding out who he really is at his core, identifying the life he wanted to live—for himself and for his family—and what it took to make the big changes and connect in meaningful ways with others.

"I was more afraid of not changing than I was of the idea of changing.”

Dai is a Distinguished Toastmaster & TEDx speaker, former partner and Chief Operating Officer of a multi-million dollar retail company, and a sought-after lifestyle mentor and executive performance coach.

Learn more about Dai, his life, and his coaching at http://www.joinwlfm.com/

Apr 26, 2022

Today’s conversation is going to motivate you to keep going, with whatever you’re pursuing right now, whether it’s training for a spring or summer race, or simply sticking with your everyday running and exercise routine. 

It’s also going to remind you it’s never too late to try something new, to start doing something completely different and even something so outside of your comfort zone. 

Pat Butler, at age 72, signed up for her very first triathlon, Tri Goddess Triathlon in southeast Michigan. And 14 years later, Pat is still going strong with completing triathlons — she’s even competed in senior Olympics and has finished half marathons, sometimes with her kids, who are IRONMAN finishers.

Eva Solomon, co-founder of Epic Races, which puts on Tri Goddess Triathlon, joins the conversation, too. 

Pat’s 85th birthday is this July and she’ll again be taking part in tri Goddess Triathlon, held on Saturday, June 25th this year. 

Pat lives in Saline with her husband. As she shares during our conversation, spending time with her family — enjoying outdoor adventures together like long hikes, swimming, and road races — is very important to her. 

**Race discount code is shared during this episode, for Tri Goddess Triathlon**

Apr 15, 2022

"I realized I thought I was writing a book about a middle-aged woman who ran a marathon, and what I was actually writing about was a woman trying to save her life."

Nita Sweeney, the award-winning wellness author of the running and mental health memoir, Depression Hates a Moving Target: How Running with My Dog Brought Me Back from the Brink, joins Heather to talk about her journey of becoming a runner — and her journey of finding herself. Before she discovered running, Nita was a 49-year-old chronically depressed, occasionally manic, and unable to run for more than 60 seconds at a time. Using exercise, she unearthed an inner strength she didn't know she possessed, and with the help of her canine companion, she found herself on the way to completing her first marathon.

A former lawyer-turned-author, Nita has a new book — Make Every Move a Meditation — that comes out this summer and has been featured in the Wall Street Journal. A certified meditation leader, mental health advocate, ultramarathoner, and former assistant to writing practice originator Natalie Goldberg, Nita founded the groups Mind, Mood, and Movement to support well-being through meditation, exercise, and writing practice, and The Writer’s Mind, to share using writing practice to produce publishable work. Nita also publishes the writing resource newsletter, Write Now Columbus. She lives in central Ohio with her husband, Ed, and their yellow Labrador retriever, Scarlet.

You can downtown your free copy of Nita’s eBook Three Ways to Heal Your Mind.

Mar 22, 2022
We’ve all heard about, or even taken part in, college classes that immerse us in real-life situations — these classes teach us in an entirely different way compared to sitting in a lecture hall, taking notes, and reading thick, heavy textbooks. But this one, the professional communications class at Northwestern Michigan College in Traverse City, does something especially different for its students — it provides a way for them to bring a running event to life, from start to finish, while also giving back to the community in interesting and truly unique ways. The 7th annual Big Little Hero Race returns Saturday, April 23 to NMC’s main campus with a theme of Mentorship Matters. This race — a perfect primer for the Bayshore races over Memorial Day weekend, by the way, if you happen to be signed up for any of those distances — features a 10K, 5K, one-mile fun run or walk, as well as a virtual option.  NMC students Ayden Shore, Cristina Melgoza, and Matthew Bodner join their instructor Kristy McDonald in sharing the story of this spring’s Big Little Hero Race.

“I think there are models of experiential learning, but not one that gives back to the community. And that was important to me, that they weren’t just growing as business communicators, but that they were growing as people and they were giving back to the community,” says Kristy. “They’re so engaged, they care so much. They’re just good humans and they’re showing that and that’s awesome. They care — they really, really care.”

For Matthew, helping with this race holds special meaning given his connection to Big Brothers Big Sisters. He was involved with the program as a child after his dad passed away.

“A program like Big Brothers Big Sisters helped me stay on track. It’s very easy as a young boy to get into the wrong things at the wrong time, so to speak. And Big Brothers Big Sisters just gave me a place to go where I could actually be myself. I could get mad, I could talk to someone who understood. And they didn’t make me feel bad about it. And I think that is so important and underrated. And we have thousands and thousands of kids around here who need that hope of help. So that’s why I think this is one of the best causes you could choose.”

Learn more about the Big Little Hero Race at biglittleherorace.com 

Mar 14, 2022
"A big part of managing my mental health — beyond therapy and meds — is moving my body and spending time outside. I feel my best when on our family camping trips. While some might see these trips as a lot of work, which they are, I find them to be everything I need: connection, fresh air, no Wi-Fi…"

Megan Eddinger is a runner and founder and host of the podcast The No BS Mama. She joins Heather to talk about her mental health journey and the ways being self-aware changes us and our relationships for the better. They talk about noticing our "warning signs" -- the perhaps not-so-healthy ways we cope with everyday stress -- and how shifts in our mindset (and prioritizing sleep and making room for the little, meaningful things in life) can help us feel better and improve our overall well-being.

Megan Eddinger, who lives in Delaware, is a 35-year-old mom of three who married to her high school sweetheart. She first became a mom just two weeks after her 18th birthday and had her last baby at just 23 years old. She was thrown into motherhood before she really had a chance to figure out who she was. 

Her life has been everything but traditional and she shares all the ups and downs with raw transparency. Her ultimate goal is to normalize all the parts of motherhood that no one tells you about so that other moms don't feel so alone in their own journeys.

You can learn more about Megan by following her on Instagram. You can also join her free membership for weekly tips and tricks. FInd her podcast The No BS Mama whereever you listen to your podcasts. 

Also featured in this episode: race discount codes! If you’re starting to fill your calendar with races, be sure to check out the race discount codes we’ve got at Michigan Runner Girl.com We have race savings for events throughout Michigan, including Rivertown Races in Grand Rapids next month, the North Mitten Half Marathon, 10K & 5K here in northern Michigan over Memorial Day weekend, the Goddess Race Series of events from Epic Races — these include the Ann Arbor Goddess 5K next month, Tri Goddess Tri in June, and Women Run the D Half Marathon, 10K and 5K this fall in Detroit — Tulip Time in Holland this spring, Holland Haven Marathon, Half Marathon, and 8K this fall, and others. Head over to Michigan Runner Girl.com and click on Races and Events.

Mar 7, 2022

"There's a difference between being depleted and empty, and being depleted and full. I am depleted and full all the time. I cannot squeeze anything else out of my day. But when my head hits the pillow, I think 'God, that was amazing.'"

Mel Charbonneau — entrepreneur, writer, runner, mother and inspiration powerhouse who creates spaces for women to own their stories — sits down with Heather to talk about discovering what fills us up, becoming aware of our values and living a life in alignment with them, surrounding ourselves with supportive people who help hold us accountable (what Mel describes as "filling the runway"), and so much more.

"The more work I have done personally and professionally to define my values, and to make decisions based on what those values are to live the kind of life that I want to live — when I started doing that, everything changed in work, in my personal life, how I approach fitness and movement but also how I parent my kids.” 

Mel launched Fellow Flowers in 2012 with a collection of colorful flowers to help women honor the reasons why they run. Since then, she has turned the company into a national movement, 30,000-women strong. Through programs such as the goal-setting Declare It Day, Breakthrough & Begin oceanside retreats and Tell Her cards that encourage women to lift one another up, Mel has created a sisterhood of empowerment and support that proves to every woman that she is a story worth telling.

Most recently, Mel launched the Made to Move Women’s Race Series. Made to Move honors not just race day, but each woman’s journey to it, celebrating goals, competitive spirit, community and stories every step of the way. Made to Move actively works to remove barriers that can prevent women from running and to create a welcoming and inclusive experience for all women.

Mel lives in McFarland, Wisconsin, with her husband and three daughters.

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Feb 28, 2022

This episode will get you thinking about reconnecting with your community, your tribe, your people — however you define community. Heather talks with Eddie Kline, a west Michigan runner, cyclist, husband, and race director, who is overseeing one of his own community’s well-known and popular races: the Tulip Time Run, a 10K, 5K, and kids fun run on Saturday, May 7 — the first day of the weeklong Tulip Time Festival in Holland, Michigan. Eddie shares race details — the event is in-person this year after being entirely virtual last year — and he and Heather also talk about why community races and events like this one are so important to us and how they help us re-connect.

So many of us are craving the opportunity to get back out there, be with others, especially those who share a passion for the outdoors and movement.

Tulip Time Run takes place in Holland, Mich. May 7, 2022. Experience the beauty of Holland as you run through the tulip-lined streets. The Tulip Time Run offers an event for everyone — a 5K, 10K and Kids’ Fun Run. A special MRG listener race discount code is shared during the episode.

Heather also talks about her own plans for an upcoming community race, as well as a recent reconnection moment she shared at a surprising place: the gym. 

Feb 10, 2022
If there ever was an episode that packs in just about everything the MRG podcast is all about — especially now — this one would be it.  The Michigan Runner Girl Show returns after a short break in a big way with this episode featuring a LIVE recording from the 4th annual Michigan Runner Girl Winter Weekend Getaway, a retreat held a couple of weeks ago in northern Michigan on the shores of North Higgins Lake that included 40+ women. 

This episode marks a milestone for the show, too: this is Season One of 2022 — the first time the MRG podcast, since its start in 2015, has released episodes by season and following a particular theme. Season One’s theme is Reconnection. Over the course of the next 8-10 weeks, listeners can expect to hear inspiring stories of people and places in Michigan (and beyond) that explore what it means to reconnect — with ourselves, with nature, with friends and family, with our communities

This first episode features Maia Turek, a familiar podcast guest, who is known for her vast knowledge of Michigan state parks (she is an innovations and engagement specialist for the Michigan Department of Natural Resources). This time, though, she gets more personal; she bravely shares a wellness journey she’s been on over the past year with Leah Doriot, a certified health coach who has become a great friend of hers. Leah shares her insight, too, as well as her own journey to follow her passion and make a big (and scary) career change during COVID. Together with Heather, the women talk honestly about the challenges of living in a toxic diet culture, particularly for women, the importance of tapping into our inner strength and recognizing and honoring what we want for ourselves, and ultimately recognizing the power that comes when we change our mindset about what it means to be strong, able, and beautiful-just-as-we-are women. 

Thanks to the amazing women who joined us for the MRG Winter Weekend Getaway and took part in the LIVE podcast recording — and asked fantastic questions, too! What a weekend it was. (Learn more about this annual event at MichiganRunnerGirl.com. Be sure to sign up for the MRG newsletter to hear about upcoming events, including the 2023 winter weekend.)

Nov 29, 2021

In this latest episode featuring Heather and her 21-year-old daughter, Emma, life transitions — facing them, going through them, learning from them — is the focus. And if there’s ever been a  time when life changes take center stage, it’s these past couple of years as we’ve all endured so much, personally and professionally, as a result of the pandemic. 

Emma shares big news at the start of this episode, and how where she’s at now and what’s ahead is the culmination of a lot of hard work, dedication … and, yes, stress and self-reflection. She shares how she traversed this time of her life and the things she’s learned about herself. 

Emma asks some interesting and personal questions of her mom, and Heather responds with stories that touch on becoming a mom, the role of creativity and work along this journey of raising three kids, and the generational differences Emma and Heather are observing as Emma enters her early 20s and begins thinking about her future plans.

They wrap up the show by sharing a letter from a listener, and encourage the comments and feedback to keep on coming. What life transition are you experiencing right now? How are you navigating the ups and downs of this time? How does running and movement help you? We’d love to hear from you. Email your thoughts, or record a voice memo, and send to heather@michiganrunnergirl.com 

Nov 3, 2021

“At first it was hard because I felt like I was in this snowglobe that had been shaken up. And all of a sudden I had space, and then all the snowflakes were falling around me, and I was like, there’s that thing I ignored for six months, and there’s that thing I don’t want to think about because it stresses me out. But the more I was out there, the more the snowflakes, the glitter, settled and the better I felt. And that, I think, is just a testament to how important it is to make space in this life to think about things, or to process things, to just breathe. Because we don’t get it naturally in our lives. You have to be very intentional about that.” 

Paige Lackey returns to the MRG show to talk about her 5-month-long adventure exploring Michigan’s state forest campgrounds — this solo trip took Paige (and her dog Willow) to more than 75 Michigan Department of Natural Resources locations in both the lower and upper peninsulas between April and September. Project Rustic, as it was named, was an effort to collect information for the state’s Recreation Search database. 

Paige previously was a guest on the show (episode #213) just before leaving on this trip. During that conversation, she talked about coming up with this idea as a Huron Pines AmeriCorps service member serving with the Michigan DNR, and how it all came to fruition. In this most recent episode, Paige is honest about what it truly was like to travel alone with Willow in an RV, the places she got to see and know, the people she met along the way, the highlights and challenges, and how the experience changed her. Her quote of the summer, she shares during her conversation with Heather: “What will be, will be transformative.”

Oct 15, 2021

Heather and Jonny share the Mackinac Island running paths they explored — the 8-mile paved path around the island and the winding trails weaving through its interior — during this special bonus episode. They also talk about the island’s annual races, including one coming up later this month. 

On the island for the annual Mackinac Island Policy Conference (see the last episode for all the details of this event, now in its 41st year), Heather and Jonny made sure to break up their conference-going with a couple of runs. Their scenic morning run included a gorgeous sunrise — and lots of wind. Evening miles, meanwhile, took them up a few hills and along a ridge that led to some pretty amazing views of Lake Huron and cool rock formations. 

Runmackinac.com has all the race details. 

Oct 5, 2021

As we all keep moving forward during the pandemic, charting a path to recover, heal, and thrive as a state is critical, say organizers of the 2021 Mackinac Policy Conference, which served as a platform to hear from national thought-leaders on the significant issues that Michigan and the nation is facing at this critical time in history. This year’s conference theme — “Reimagining a Healthy Michigan” — highlighted what should be a top priority for the state in 2022, according to conference host Detroit Regional Chamber of Commerce.

Heather and Jonny got behind the mics while on Mackinac Island, sharing stories from the recent Mackinac Policy Conference. Now in its 41st year, the event brings together business, government, civic leaders, and members of the media from across the state. Gov. Gretchen Whitmer spoke several times, including a keynote address on the event’s final full day.

Along with plenty of talking and listening and general conference-going (and walking A TON on this beautiful car-free island in Lake Huron, between Mission Pointe Resort where they stayed and the Grand Hotel, where the conference took place), Heather and Jonny of course had to squeeze in a few runs — around the island and on the island’s interior trails, the latter of which was a first for both.

In this episode, recorded from the Grand Hotel, you’ll hear from Gov. Whitmer and learn about recently announced plans to electricity more vehicles, provide charging stations along a designated corridor on the west side of the state, and what the future of mobility for Michiganders will look like (if vehicles can get us to our favorite outdoor places more economically and in more environmentally friendly ways, we’re all for it!). Also, you’ll hear: Heather and Jonny’s conference observations and takeaways; a Detroit man’s passion for the Motor City and how running and staying active shapes his life; and lots more.

The overarching conference conversations were focused around three pillars that will be vital in accomplishing the goal of reimagining a healthy Michigan, according to the Detroit Regional Chamber of Commerce

  1. Accelerating the state’s COVID-19 economic recovery and sustainability.
  2. Advancing racial justice and equity for all.
  3. Investing in the health of Michigan’s people and communities.

NEXT UP: An episode focused entirely on running and racing on Mackinac Island. Jonny and Heather share tips and ideas during the episode — recorded on the island — that is dropping next week.

Sep 21, 2021

Moving our bodies. Dealing with anxiety. Finding what inspires us. Cultivating and maintaining family relationships. Tending to our mental health.

These are among the topics Heather and her 21-year-old daughter Emma touch on during this decidedly more personal episode. While Heather has had a wide range of discussions with guests over the past 6 years, many of which took us into the minds and hearts of athletes, race directors, and healthy lifestyle experts, Heather and Emma share personal stories and dive deeper into areas of particular interest to them — and to longtime listeners who have shared with Heather over the years that the episodes that explore these kinds of topics and how others lean into movement to help them navigate life are often the most powerful. 

Like many businesses and organizations in the past year and half of the pandemic, Michigan Runner Girl was forced to switch gears (no in-person events for awhile meant no race expos or women’s retreats) and reimagine what this community could look like. While we’re all tentatively returning to things we took part in pre-COVID, life of course has forever changed in numerous ways for all of us. What does this mean for MRG? Heather is still thinking this through, though she is excited to keep moving forward and see what unfolds — with the podcast and with the community. What won’t ever change: her hope to keep the conversation going around good health and well-being, staying true to ourselves, running (and all other movement that keeps us looking forward and feeling great), and continually striving to be the best versions of ourselves that we can be. 

We want to hear from YOU! Let us know what you think of this episode and what you’d like to hear more of on the Michigan Runner Girl Show as we move forward. Email heather@michiganrunnergirl.com Let’s keep the conversation going. 

Find Heather at michiganrunnergirl.com, on Facebook at facebook.com/michigan-runner-girl, and on Instagram at michiganrunnergirl and michiganrunnergirlshow

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Mentioned in this episode:

- Tiny Beautiful Things, a book by Cheryl Strayed
- Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail, a memoir by Cheryl Strayed
- Tell Me Something True, a podcast with Laura McKowen
- The Man Enough Podcast, with Jamey Heath, Justin Baldoni, and Liz Plank
- Sasha Wolff, founder of Still I Run, a Michigan-based organization focused on defeating the stigma of mental illness

Sep 1, 2021

In just under two weeks, a few thousand athletes and their family and friends will travel to the quaint and beautiful Lake Michigan coastal town of Frankfort to take part in IRONMAN 70.3 Michigan — an event that’s had its share of twists and turns over the past year and a half during the pandemic.

You can’t exactly call this 1.2-mile swim, 56-mile bike ride, and 13.1-mile run on Sunday, Sept. 12 a new event in northern Michigan — the first IRONMAN 70.3 in northern Michigan took place in late August 2019, in Traverse City — though it is inaugural in that it moved from TC to Frankfort, about 45 minutes to the west, on the shores of Lake Michigan. It also has a new date; the Traverse City event took place over Labor Day weekend while the Frankfort event is set for the second weekend in September. 

It also happens to be an event that holds a special place in Heather’s heart, being the first (and only, so far) IRONMAN 70.3 she’s taken on. In this episode, Heather talks with race director Joel Gaff about what athletes and spectators can expect to experience during IRONMAN 70.3. Joel shares course information, race weekend highlights, and behind-the-scenes details, including what it’s been like to plan for an in-person IRONMAN during the pandemic. 

Heather and Joel also cover how they’re both feeling about their own athletic pursuits lately (Heather shares how she made the tough decision to defer to the 2022 IRONMAN 70.3 Michigan, while Joel talks about getting back on the road and running more after dealing with an injury). Joel, who has two young daughters, also talks about his especially busy summer — he served as race director of another all-new IRONMAN 70.3 in Oregon — and what he’s looking forward to this fall.

FIND MRG and HEATHER:

@michiganrunnergirlshow on Instagram

@michiganrunnergirl on Instagram

@michigan-runner-girl on Facebook

Aug 16, 2021

At the start of 2021, Janice Davidson took a big leap of faith when she quit her longtime position as the director of recreation at Crystal Mountain Resort in Thompsonville, Mich. to start her own business, North Mitten Events. Eight months later, Janice describes life as full and busy — and better than ever.

“It can be scary for sure, but it feels great. I’m doing what I believe in — things that I feel that are great for our community, both our planet and our people, and I’m really excited to be here,” says Janice, a race director, runner, and mom of two school-age kids who lives on the Betsie River in Benzie County.

Janice returns to the MRG Show to talk about her latest endeavor: bringing back a popular trail run in her beloved area of northern Michigan. The Betsie Valley Trail Run — a half marathon, 10K, 5K and 1-mile fun run — takes place on Sunday, Sept. 19 on the Betsie Valley Trail near Thompsonville. As Heather mentions during the show, she ran the half marathon back in 2010, when it was under different race management. It also happened to be Janice’s very first 13.1, in 2011. 

Along with sharing all of the details of this fall’s event — the race course is flat and incredibly scenic — Janice talks about life as a business owner, how things have changed for her in the past several months, and an exciting new role she is taking on this winter (she breaks the official news during this conversation!). She also talks about her love of nature and how important spending time outdoors is to her and her family.

“I think nature helps us in every way. So getting outdoors, absolutely, and remembering that that’s really part of my focus, to help protect our planet and get out there and enjoy it.” there’s so many opportunities in northern Michigan to explore and to just be.”

You’ll also get a special podcast-listener discount code for the Betsie Valley Trail Run. If you’re looking for a fall race, you’re definitely going to want to check out this one. Heather is hoping to be there, too!

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

Aug 6, 2021

"The idea came to me after running a marathon—the California International Marathon—in December of 2019. I ran the marathon and the next day had a five-hour flight back home. Back home, while drinking coffee, I realized I had used six plastic cups for both coffee and water on the plane the day before. Then I thought about my marathon and how many cups I used during those 26.2 miles." -Kristina Smithe, founder of Hiccup

It was in doing a little quick math—the marathon and plane ride cups multiplied by the runners and airline passengers—that Kristina Smithe realized just how much waste was being generated in a short period of time. She then decided she needed to do something about it. 

Kristina, 31, is the founder of Hiccup, a cup service serving the race community as well as businesses. "We provide 8-ounce silicone cups as an alternative to single-use cups that are used at aid stations. Our mission is to eliminate cup waste," says Kristina, who is a Coast Guard veteran and 26-time marathoner who grew up in Marne, Michigan and now resides in Tampa Bay, Fla.

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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

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:

@michiganrunnergirlshow on Instagram

@michiganrunnergirl on Instagram

@michigan-runner-girl on Facebook

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:

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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:

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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 

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