In the past 2 ½ years, Lowell, Mich. runner Robert Woldhuis has competed in almost 90 running events, including 29 half marathons, three 25Ks, four full marathons, a 50K trail race and, this October, his first 50-miler, which took place in Door County, Wis. Runners throughout the state know Robert, or are at least probably familiar with who he is, given he’s the friendly, outgoing guy wearing a colorful tutu and carrying an American flag during races. “The tutu for me is a reminder to not take life too seriously. It inspires people to smile and laugh,” says Robert, 41, who created a Facebook page titled Adventures of Tutu Man.
Finding levity in life and sharing it with others is important to Robert, who spent a good chunk of his life struggling to maintain healthy relationships, remain sober and stay out of trouble with the law. He ultimately served a five-year prison sentence because of drug crimes he committed and scams he orchestrated. It was in prison, on a half-mile dirt track, that Robert discovered running and its transformative power.
Heather and Robert talk about this journey and how running opened up a new world to him as well as triggered a new life’s mission. He’s especially excited about being named to the 2018 Fifth Third Riverbank Run Road Warrior Team of Ambassadors. Whether on the road or trail, or behind a race expo booth table, Robert is passionate about connecting with others.
“My favorite memory of the 50-mile race was the fact that I probably got to share my testimony and listen to other people’s stories probably 10,12, 15 times … A big part of the healing part of the journey that I have been on — you know, I’ve been sober for a little over 7 years now — and a big part of that was just transparency and accountability with some people in my life. The transparency comes in with being more of an open book, instead of being reclusive and shoving issue down and not talking about them. It’s being open to talk about things.”
Find Robert on Facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/Theadventuresoftutuman/
Maia Turek, a.k.a. the Michigan state parks guru, is back on the Michigan Runner Girl Show, this time to talk about ways we can enjoy our 103 state parks all winter long. From lantern-lit snowshoe excursions and "owl prowls," to DIY events like make your own snowshoes and special hiking and cross country skiing opportunities at cool spots (even a lighthouse!), there are lots of ways to explore outdoors, embrace the snow and cold, and feel strong and happy throughout the season. Indoor events throughout Michigan also are mentioned. Maia, who is the statewide recreation programmer for the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, also shares news of awesome merchandise partnerships the DNR now has with two Michigan-based companies (and what that means for state park visitors like us). Heather and Maia also talk about the #OptOutside movement this coming Friday, the day after Thanksgiving. For a second year, Michigan State Parks are following the lead of outdoor company REI in embracing this hashtag—and they're encouraging us to do the same. This Friday, Nov. 24, choose to #OptOutside with free admission to all Michigan State Parks.
Here's more about #OptOutside:
Residents and visitors are encouraged to put away leftovers and #OptOutside as part of their day-after-Thanksgiving traditions. To encourage folks to tap into Michigan's great outdoors and gather with friends and family, on Friday, Nov. 24, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources will waive the regular Recreation Passport entry fee that enables vehicle access to Michigan state parks, trails and boating access sites.
Exploring some of Michigan's best outdoor destinations is a great way to recover from holiday shopping excursions, burn off some of those Thanksgiving calories and enjoy the many benefits of nature.
"In Michigan, you’re never more than a half-hour away from a state park, recreation area, state forest campground or state trail," said Ron Olson, DNR Parks and Recreation Division chief. "#OptOutside is an invitation to residents and those traveling to spend time outside during the holiday weekend and help continue or build new Thanksgiving traditions. The DNR hopes the free entry opportunity will encourage residents and visitors to explore new places and experience the outdoors' many physical, mental and social benefits."
There are plenty of ideas to incorporate into popular day-after-Thanksgiving traditions, including opportunities to:
"The holidays can get hectic with added obligations, no matter how happy or anticipated they may be," said Olson. "Our #OptOutside promotion is an opportunity for folks to take a deep breath of fresh air, share an experience with your favorite people and make some great holiday memories."
Although the Recreation Passport vehicle entry fee into 103 Michigan state parks, 138 state forest campgrounds and parking for hundreds of miles of trails and fee-based boat launches is waived Nov. 24, camping and other permit and license fees still apply.
Interested in learning more about things to do and places to visit? Visit the DNR website at michigan.gov/dnr to learn more about fishing, hunting, forest land, state parks and much more. To search for a list of Michigan state parks, rustic state forest campgrounds, state-designated trails and associated activities and amenities, visit www.michigan.gov/recsearch. Interested in the Recreation Passport and how it helps Michigan state parks, trails and waterways? Visit www.michigan.gov/RecreationPassport.
The #OptOutside movement was started by outdoor recreation cooperative REI Inc. in 2015 to encourage people to spend time outdoors on Black Friday. For the third year in a row, the Michigan DNR has encouraged people to utilize the outdoors as part of their Thanksgiving weekend celebrations.
"I feel a little tougher." Can you relate to this feeling, when you've laced up your running shoes and headed out the door for a run in the cold and snow? Finishing a run in the winter, especially when we've pushed ourselves to get outside, indeed can offer a certain kind of sweet satisfaction. This is what Heather and frequent guest Cassy Stone talk about during this episode that focuses on staying motivated once the temperatures dip, the days get shorter, and getting out of a warm bed to exercise can prove especially challenging. Cassy and Heather also share what Michigan Runner Girl readers and listeners think about winter running. (Thanks, everyone, for the great conversation about winter running on the MRG Facebook page last week!) From smart gear to wear—"there's no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing choices"—to the importance of having running friends to join you to the power of signing up for winter races, Cassy and Heather cover all aspects of staying inspired to keep moving over the next several months.