Info

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.
RSS Feed
Michigan Runner Girl
2021
October
September
August
July
June
May
April
March
February
January


2020
December
November
October
September
August
July
June
May
March
February
January


2019
December
November
October
September
August
July
June
May
April
March
February
January


2018
December
November
October
September
August
July
June
May
April
March
February
January


2017
December
November
October
September
August
July
June
May
April
March
February
January


2016
December
November
October
September
August
July
June
May
April
March
February
January


2015
December
November
October
September
August


Categories

All Episodes
Archives
Categories
Now displaying: 2020
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

--

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

--

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 13, 2020

Getting outside, enjoying nature, breathing in the fresh air and exploring both familiar and new-to-us places in Michigan -- we’ve all realized just how important these activities are for our mental and physical well-being over the past several months. We see more people out and about walking, hiking, running, and biking in our neighborhoods and in our communities, and we’ve also seen lots of this as we’ve taken trips throughout the state with our family and friends, particular, you may have found, during trips to northern Michigan and in the upper peninsula. The U.P. has indeed witnessed a significant uptick in its visitors this summer, as more families venture across the Mighty Mac, sometimes for the first time ever, according to travel industry experts. 

Travel is transformative, and now more than ever is helping us cope with so much uncertainty in the world. Dave Lorenz, vice president of Travel Michigan at the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, believes travel also has the power to connect us with one another in positive ways. “You look at all the disharmony in America right now. People distrusting each other because of politics or our skin color -- what I call stupid reasons to not trust each other or like each other. Travel is the biggest exporter and importer of peace the world has ever known. As much as I want people to stay in this state, spend their money here ... man, people need to travel around our country, because I’ll tell you, what I’ve learned is in my many, many travels around, mostly on behalf of Pure Michigan, we are the same. We all want a better life for children, for our grandchildren. And in many other ways, we are the same.”

“The travel industry, through immersion, teaches people because it’s deeply felt when you travel and when you meet different people -- that’s the biggest benefit of travel...and it’s going to be one of the most important things in the next several years.” 

Dave Lorenz, along with Maia Turek, resource development specialist with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, join Heather to talk about exploring during the pandemic, how to do so safely during COVID, the enduring strength of the Pure Michigan campaign, the future of travel (in Michigan and outside of our state), and why both Maia and Dave believe this fall is going to be big for traveling in Michigan. 

Dave and Maia also talk about the Pure Michigan Pledge, the “Two Peninsulas, One Pure Michigan” message, and their ideal way to spend the day in Michigan.

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 2, 2020

“I’ve been running every morning at 6 a.m. and then walking every afternoon or night with my daughter. I’ve run more since we shut down on March 16 than any other time in my life, I think -- like 500+ miles. So you can tell how I’m coping.”

West Michigan runner Vicki Cavanaugh joins Heather to talk about life during these interesting times. Vicki, who is involved with Total Trek Quest (TTQ), a program that assists third-, fourth- and fifth-grade boys in learning to run a 5K in the 5-county area in and around Grand Rapids, Mich., last was on the MRG show in 2017. More than 4,800 boys and their families have taken part in this program, which held a summer session for the first time this year.

“TTQ is adapting, adjusting, and pivoting. We sent out an email-based program ‘TTQ@Home’ the week of March 23 to try and provide some fun and movement in those first few weeks and month. When it started to look like this wasn’t going away, we began to develop a virtual summer TTQ program—complete with GoPro-filmed tips, virtual parent support meetings, and activity meetups, a modified curriculum to get the whole family involved, moving, and learning new things—and then we’ve added in person meetups. And to finish the season—a virtual 5k called the Challenge, Inspire and Achieve 5K the weekend of August 15-16. This has not been easy—we’ve all learned so much about everything we took for granted.”

Vicki also shares what’s kept her going strong throughout the past few months, as well as her hopes for the program and for all of us as we move forward.

“Movement can help us cope, brings us together, and helps make us healthy so we can withstand what we are going through.”

FIND HEATHER:

@michiganrunnergirl on Instagram

@michigan-runner-girl on Facebook

MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE:

Total Trek Quest

-

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.



Aug 16, 2020

I haven’t done one of these episodes in awhile and I figured it was long overdue! Summer is winding down and life keeps marching on -- kids are heading back to school, beach days are numbered (nooo!), and our upcoming fall race schedules are, well, they’re like nothing we’ve experienced before. Life is strange -- continues to be strange -- but we’re all hanging in there, right?

We ARE making the best of things and doing what we can to keep moving forward. In this episode, I share 4 things that are keeping me smiling and feeling strong. This includes some of my favorite podcasts (including a new one hosted by, yep, Rob Lowe), the all-new MRG Book Club (please join the conversation!), and a special call-out for all of you listeners. 

FIND HEATHER:

@michiganrunnergirl on Instagram

@michigan-runner-girl on Facebook

MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE

MRG Book Club

Three Women by Lisa Taddeo

Making Oprah

Hurdle with Emily Abbate

Ali on the Run Show

Chris Heuisler

Armchair Expert

Literally! with Rob Lowe

Conan O’Brien Needs a Friend

 

--

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.

Aug 7, 2020

“It’s been tough. And I think we’re right smack dab in the middle of it and we don’t really know what to expect. And you know, what is the phrase we heard early on? We don’t know what we don’t know.” 

Lisa Taylor, lifelong runner and longtime running coach, talks about the pandemic and how it’s impacted daily life and the running community. As executive director of the Traverse City Track Club, which is behind the widely popular Bayshore Marathon, Half Marathon and 10K, Lisa and her team like so many race organizers have had to make hard decisions about their events. The Bayshore races, normally held the Saturday of Memorial Day weekend, didn’t happen this year. It was the first time in its 37-year history that it was cancelled.

But Lisa says her team and members of the Traverse City Track Club not only stepped up to the challenge of having to cancel the spring event, they’ve also found ways to keep one another motivated to stay active and keep moving throughout the past several months of COVID-19 and the quarantine.

What she’s witnessed among family, friends, and fellow runners: “How important it is to keep moving, to stay strong and find creative ways to do that … and at the same time be easy on yourself and not expect too much, and ease into finding new ways of doing things.” 

The Traverse City Track Club, with its some 700 members, is the largest Road Runners Club of America running club in the state. (Kalamazoo Area Runners previously held this title, and Lisa shares how there’s been friendly banter about this with Kalamazoo club members.)

A runner for some 45 years, Lisa is a firm believer in the power of walking and running to change lives. She talks about the lifestyle being something that we find, keep, and can learn from.

--

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 Mike Moran, Mike Youker and Jonny Tornga of Quarter After Productions in Traverse City, Mich. for producing the show.

Jul 29, 2020

Joel Gaff and his family -- wife Laura and their two little girls -- have spent the past several months in Portland, Ore., adjusting to quarantine life while juggling parenting with jobs in healthcare (Laura) and in the running and endurance sports industry (Joel). (Listen all the way through to hear an adorable interaction with Joe's daughter's Hazel, age 2 1/2, and Penelope, age 1 1/2).

As the co-founder and owner of Endurance Evolution, a race management and timing company, Joel and his team, like so many others, got creative with their race events, like the Traverse City Trail Running Festival, this spring and summer. This meant transitioning to virtual races and creating all-new events -- a couple with real-time engagement from Joel and his team. New virtual events included the Backyard Ultra, The Mitten Run, and The Oregon Run, as well as the Lake Michigan Ride, a cycling event.  

Joel, who also serves as race director of IRONMAN 70.3 Traverse City, shares how he's been staying active, what it's like to not have an IRONMAN on his own training schedule this year, and just how many hours a week he can actually work with two adorable little girls underfoot. 

Jul 21, 2020

Eddie Kline and his team are working hard to make this fall’s Holland Haven Marathon, Half Marathon and 8K an in-person event. Now in its 7th year, these west Michigan races are set for Sunday, Sept. 13.

“As race day approaches, we are putting together our plan to keep runners safe,” Eddie says, adding that efforts are evolving as government recommendations and regulations continue to change.

As of late July, the race is on -- with some changes to ensure participants stay safe during the pandemic. “We cannot eliminate all the risk -- this is a public event with hundreds of people -- but we’re putting safety measures in place."

Eddie joins Heather on the show to share these safety measures -- reduced capacity, no-contact aid stations, prepackaged finish line food, among other efforts. 

He also shares what he’s been up to during the quarantine and this summer, why he’s doing more cycling these days after successfully finishing a 50-miler in Big Rapids last fall, and what he likes best about his new temporary part-time job delivering packages for the U.S. Post Office. 

A race discount code for listeners -- $12 off race entry to the Sept. 13 Holland Haven races -- also is shared during the show. 

***

More details about race precautions to be taken at the 7th annual Holland Haven Marathon, Half Marathon & 8K:

Holland Haven Marathon 2K20 Covid Safety Plan 

  • Reduced capacity - We have cut the overall amount of runners in half for 2K20. The registration totals for each race: Full 300, Half 300, 8K 200. 
  • Masks on buses - All runners riding the bus to the full and half starting lines are required to wear a mask on the bus. The front 2 seats of every bus are reserved for seniors 65 and above. 
  • Masks for runners - All runners must wear a mask until they enter their starting corral. Runners do not need to wear a mask while running. 
  • Masks for volunteers - All volunteers are asked to wear masks during the event. 
  • Starting line corrals - Large corrals are set up at the starting lines to separate runners. Each corral can hold 100 runners and keep them 6’ apart. Runners choose a corral at the starting line based on their running pace. 
  • No contact aid stations - Aid stations this year mainly just have water and Gatorade. The cups are filled and set out on tables by volunteers for runners to pick up. Volunteers do not hand runners the cups. 
  • Prepackaged finish line food - Runners receive a boxed lunch upon finishing their race. The boxes are prepackaged and set out on tables by volunteers for runners to pick up. Volunteers do not hand runners the food boxes. 
  • No after party or race expo - By eliminating these gatherings this year we are limiting the exposure of our runners, staff, volunteers and spectators.
Jul 11, 2020

Triathlete and race director Eva Solomon, co-founder of Epic Races in southeast Michigan, returns to the show to talk about the future of racing. Having cancelled and reimagined the races her company organizes -- Epic Races is behind numerous running, cycling, and swimming events held all year round in Michigan -- Eva and her team had to think fast and get creative these past few months. As she explains, it happened quickly for Epic Races, which had three events in March that were affected by the pandemic and subsequent quarantine. 

Eva also is heavily involved in running and triathlon organizations on a national level, and she's been talking a lot about the future of our beloved sport with her race director counterparts. She shares what she has learned, how races may look in the future, and how Epic Races has adapted and pivoted to continue offering opportunities to stay healthy and active during this time. Ceasing her business operations has never been an option: "It's what we do -- we put on races," she says. 

Along with adjusting current races on their roster, Epic Races has gotten creative with new events, too. This includes the virtual Oh MI Goddess Half Marathon & 5K -- "that woman race from Michigan -- which is underway now. 

Eva and Heather also talk about favorite mantras as well as the gifts and interesting family aspects that came with the quarantine.

Jul 1, 2020

It's always a special treat to have Jonny Tornga -- ultrarunner, MRG podcast producer, talented musician and all-around great guy -- get behind the mic and join Heather on the show. And even better yet: Jonny and Heather catch up on location at the new Traverse City Lululemon "pop-up shop," which just opened on Front Street downtown.

Jonny, who previously worked for the popular athletic and yoga wear retailer while living in New York City a little over a year ago, is serving as assistant manager of Lululemon's first northern Michigan store. The company plans to run the 2,000 square-foot "pop-up" store at 204 East Front Street through at least the 2020 holiday season and possibly beyond.

Jonny talks about what it's been like to open a store during a pandemic, how this assistant manager opportunity was "serendipitous" following a job loss this spring, how his training and running have changed throughout the quarantine and as summer got under way ("I had a full summer of ultras planned, and so that has obviously changed a lot"), why he loves trail running so much, and what he's looking forward to this summer. 

They also talk about the grief process related to races being canceled.

"I had a great ultra plan going when both of my races were canceled. One of them was the Marquette Trail 50 -- it was a 50K and I was going to use it as a tune-up race for Ultra Trail Stokely Creek, my big one. It’s an 85K. That was cancelled as well and that was hard. The emotions I had ... I am starting to come around and now I am just into planning an adventure. I just want to go and find a cool place to camp in the UP and go run for a day or so and get lost in the woods and get my 50-miler in that way.” 

Of course, Heather and Jonny also talk about the latest and greatest Lululemon items ideal for summer running and outdoor fun.

In addition to online sales, Lululemon also operates 460 stores worldwide and 11 in Michigan, all in the southern part of the state. Traverse City's store is the company's first location north of Grand Rapids.

NOTE: You'll notice a bit of audio quality issues in the first several minutes of the show, but please keep listening. We had a few on-location technical difficulties, but got them worked out!

-

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 Mike Moran, Mike Youker and Jonny Tornga of Quarter After Productions in Traverse City, Mich. for producing the show.

Jun 25, 2020

We’re all missing our summer races -- races that may have become annual traditions for us, with our family and friends. Thankfully, a few of these events have gone virtual, allowing us to still support our favorite races (and receive race bling!) by running the distance on our own. And in some cases, all-new virtual races are popping up, providing even more opportunities to keep running and racing all summer long. The Michigan Harvest Challenge, a virtual run series celebrating the harvest seasons of famous local crops, is one of these -- and even carries on into the fall.

Race organizers Kat Paye and Alex Zelinski join Heather to talk about this run series, which allows runners and walkers to participate in four different runs. The most popular option? Take on all four events -- these Harvest Challenge spots are capped at 500. Kat and Alex also give an update on the longstanding Festival of Races, which normally take place each July during the National Cherry Festival in Traverse City. As of today, these races tentatively are set for Sept. 13.

The National Cherry Festival Foundation, which is behind northern Michigan events including the National Cherry Festival (canceled this July because of the pandemic), Iceman Cometh Challenge mountain bike race in November, and Leapin’ Leprechaun in March, is launching this virtual run series. The event is open July 15 through October 31 online and allows runners and walkers to choose from races including the Cherry Run, Apple Dash, Hop Trot, and Grape Stomp. Participants can also sign up for the Harvest Challenge and complete all four races. 

Each individual race participant will receive a themed t-shirt for their race, a finisher’s pin and other goods. Harvest Challenge participants will receive a Finisher’s Medal, a pin for each race, a special Challenge-only t-shirt, and other race bag goodies. In addition, each participant that logs their virtual run time will be eligible for a door prize. Door prizes will be drawn one week after the conclusion of each race.

“We spend our whole year finding the best way to celebrate cherries, we thought why not celebrate some of the other amazing crops our state produces as well,” says Kat, who serves as National Cherry Festival Executive Director.

The Festival Foundation will also be collecting donations for the Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancy (GTRLC) as part of the event with a goal of raising $10,000. The goal can be reached if every participant makes a minimum $3 donation. Registration and other race information is online here.

The Michigan Harvest Challenge Run Series is sponsored by Sam’s Club. Learn more and register here.

Jun 15, 2020

Two work-from-home parents, two sweet young daughters, one treadmill (often used late at night), several family hikes, and one visiting chicken—yes, a real one.

This is a snapshot of Kelly Yauk’s pandemic quarantine life these past few months. You’ll remember Kelly as the hilarious guest who has talked on the show in the past about her passion for themed runs and destination racing adventures. Kelly also has been a Team MRG Ragnar Relay member and during last fall’s road edition formed a team made up of her former Michigan State University rowing teammates.

Kelly, who is a marketing manager at the Grand Traverse Resort and Spa, shares what life has been like while juggling a full-time job that’s gone remote with full-on parenting duties with her real estate agent and writer husband Chris, who also has been working from their Traverse City home. Kelly has had to get creative with her workout schedule, too. Thankfully, she’s always enjoyed her treadmill – these days, she finds herself squeezing in the miles later at night. She shares the races she won’t be running this summer and early fall because of COVID-19, but she says plans are moving ahead with this November’s annual Great Beerd Run, now in its 7th year, at the Grand Traverse Resort and Spa. This event coincides with Traverse City Beer Week.  

As for the visiting chicken … she, of course, has a funny story about that.

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 Mike Moran, Mike Youker and Jonny Tornga of Quarter After Productions in Traverse City, Mich. for producing the show.

Jun 4, 2020

In case you missed it, we recently announced on the Michigan Runner Girl Facebook page a new MRG series, “Ask Healthy Chef Ali,” which features northern Michigan chef and MRG contributor Ali Lopez answering our top food questions. During today’s show, she answers a few of them that have come in so far – ideas for healthy and tasty post-run fuel, mid-run treats, and more – and she’ll continue sharing her culinary wisdom on future episodes.

Heather also checks in with Ali to see how life has changed for her during the pandemic, both with her work as a personal chef and culinary instructor, and with her ultrarunning race training. Ali acknowledged that the initial weeks of COVID-19 and the quarantine were rough. In more recent time, she’s feeling more like herself. Ali also found motivation in helping fellow runners – she tells some great stories about creating race routes for her friends who were bummed about not getting to run a race because it had been canceled or postponed. She also helped a local runner tackle an epic ultrarun on M-22, starting in Manistee and ending in Traverse City.

“It felt like after a month and a half, all of a sudden I could feel kind myself coming alive again. It felt like, OK, I have gotten over this, this feeling like you’re in this stuck place,” she says. “And then trying to move forward, try new things and get a little more motivated to do something different. A lot of it, too, is training-wise. I didn’t have as much work so I could train more. But then all the races got cancelled. So, what am I training for? At the beginning, it was kind of weird. But a couple of weeks ago, I thought, this is great. I am still running, I am still staying active. But because I don’t have a specific [race] date, it just feels like I can do whatever I want. The scheduled part of it is kind of nice, that it’s lightened up.”

Ali's most recent blog posts on MRG:

What Does a Chef Eat During a Pandemic?

Stocked Up with Cans of Beans? 7 Delicious Ways to Enjoy 'Em

Eat Smart, Run Well

9 Recipes from Healthy Chef Ali

May 27, 2020

Andrew Buikema, a runner and race director in Rockford, Mich., was continuing his years-long quest to qualify for the Boston Marathon -- and completely crushing his training runs -- when COVID-19 changed everything. But the pandemic only fueled his already-high motivation, even after his goal race was postponed -- twice.

“I’ve been putting in way more mileage than I ever have in my entire life,” says Andrew, who has two daughters and teaches fourth-, fifth- and sixth-grade students. “I want to keep up my fitness, I want to keep up with my ultimate goal of qualifying for Boston, and I want to just make sure I don’t lose what we’ve already worked on. Before the quarantine, I was training for the Carmel Marathon in Indiana, which was set to take place on April 4. I’d never put in so many miles in my life.” 

While Andrew acknowledges that the pandemic and its impact on his race plans “let the wind out of my sails a little bit,” he’s not giving up on his goal of qualifying and is considering which marathon he’ll tackle to make it happen. “The whole quarantine -- it has actually upped my game,” he says.

In this latest episode, Heather and Cassy talk with Andrew about his changing race plans and goals. All three share a love of the Bayshore Marathon, Half Marathon & 10K -- a Memorial Day weekend tradition in Traverse City -- and reminisce about this beloved event given they recorded the show on the day the race expo would have taken place. Heather also shares a few reader stories of the Bayshore races as well. 

Andrew is the co-race director of the Rivertown Races - 5K, 10K & Half Marathon near Grand Rapids. This event originally was set for April of this year and of course couldn’t take place because of the pandemic. Rather than cancel, race organizers chose to postpone until later this summer. They’re making plans for an in-person event the first weekend of August, and Andrew talks about how things obviously will need to be much different now. “We’re making plans for everybody to be at a safe distance.” 

The Rivertown Races, which gives back to several charities in Grand Rapids, hold a special place in Andrew’s heart, which he explains during the conversation. 

Learn more about Rivertown Races here: https://rivertownraces.com/



May 19, 2020

Earlier this year, just before the pandemic hit and altered life as we knew it, Cassy Stone was crushing her workouts.

“When this all started, I was in the gym twice a week,” said Cassy, a northern Michigan runner, cyclist and mom of three. “I was also cycling three times a week and I was in the pool trying to learn how to swim to prepare for IRONMAN Traverse City 70.3.”

But then life changed in what felt like an instant, unfolding in so many new, strange and challenging ways as COVID-19 took hold in the U.S. In mid- to late-March, schools temporarily closed. Spring events, including beloved races, were postponed or cancelled outright. Jobs were lost. Then came Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s initial stay-safe-stay-home order for all Michiganders on March 24. What’s followed has been a two-month quarantine that’s sadly led to further closures and heartbreaking cancellations and losses. As of this writing, northern Michigan and the U.P. are set to reopen this weekend, with some stipulations, so there is some light at the end of this tunnel … perhaps. There’s still so much we just don’t know. 

“I am feeling for sure that I am going through a mourning process of setting a huge goal and that may not happen for me. And trudging through the process of losing a job, too,” she says.

“When this all went down, I crumbled. I stopped moving, I stopped exercising, I wasn’t really sleeping all that great. And I went from being this really focused person … setting this huge goal to, I kind of crumbled. Then I thought, maybe I’m not the person I thought I was. Which is crazy.”

And yet, as Cassy shares, this experience is teaching us things. Things maybe we knew and had forgotten, and things that are new and eye-opening. Just as we push through a tough, sweat-drenched workout, or dig deep to find the strength to just keep moving to reach the finish line of a big goal race, we’re moving forward. It may not be exactly how we envisioned it, but we’re doing it. And right about now, I think many of us are letting out a deep breath, accepting what is and isn’t (we’ve all been hearing about the “new normal”) and thinking about what we can do to take care of ourselves, our families and communities as life continues to unfold in ways we couldn’t have imagined even a few months ago.

As Cassy so eloquently says, “I have had obstacles before -- we’ve all had obstacles -- and obstacles don’t block the path. They are the path. Truly. And this is what it is. Things are going to go on.” 



Mar 6, 2020

Tara Rybicki, a northern Michigan registered dietitian nutritionist, is dedicated to helping women embrace the idea of “un-dieting” and nourishing our bodies for optimal physical and mental well-being. “It’s something I am very personally passionate about,” she says. 

Tara, who came up with the name Love Body for the method of teaching self-love as a practice, recently connected with Erin Goldman, a yoga/meditation teacher, to launch Love Body in northern Michigan. Together, they are supporting women on their journeys through their website and blog, and such activities as yoga followed by "Conversations with Women." Their practice is different from other self-help approaches, the women shared. “It’s action-oriented,” Erin explains. “It’s not just something that exists, like something you say to yourself, but how you make that a living experience for yourself, how you make it real, so it’s true to you.”

Tara, Erin and Heather have a candid and honest conversation about women and body image, the negative self-talk so many of us can fall into, and practical ways to transform our thinking. Tara shares her personal struggle with poor body image—”I think I lived most of my life thinking my value is defined by how I look, my value is defined by my weight, my value is defined by what others think of me”—and how her mindset has shifted and what that has meant for her role as a dietitian and nutritionist. Erin speaks to how she switched career paths and found her calling as a yoga/meditation teacher. She also guides listeners through a simple mantra and meditation, as well as talks about how we can be nonjudgemental toward ourselves. 

Learn more about Tara and Erin and Love Body on social media and at their website:

lovebodywisdom.com/blog

Instagram: @lovebodywisdom

Facebook: facebook.com/lovebodywisdom/

 

Feb 24, 2020

The year was 2004, and an overnight running relay race with less than 300 participants was getting underway in Utah. That race, the brainchild of two college students, led to something much, much bigger: Ragnar Relay, an endurance event and running experience that all these years later attracts thousands of runners each year to participate in more than 40 road and trail relay races in the United States. This race experience also is taking place all across the world.

Tanner Bell, co-founder of Ragnar Relay, talks with Heather about his humble college-student beginnings as a race organizer (and non-runner, at least in the beginning) during this episode. 

Tanner, who is married, has 4 children and now serves as CEO of Ragnar, talks candidly about what it's like to see something he started in college grow to become such a successful company and brand. He shares how Ragnar determines race locations and courses, what it was like to live overseas with his family while launching the international race, and exciting things Ragnarians can expect in the coming months. 

Feb 9, 2020

A peaceful paddle down a Michigan river during the winter, chasing waterfalls in the lower peninsula (have you been to Ocqueoc Falls near Rogers City yet?), a lantern-lit snowshoe along a quiet, snow-covered path in the U.P.—these are just a few of the adventures mentioned during Heather’s regular check-in with Maia Turek of the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.

Maia, as listeners know, knows just about everything there is to know about Michigan’s beautiful state parks and the many activities taking place year-round. Plus, she’s a whole lot of fun and makes everyone laugh, always. Also joining the conversation is the one-and-only Pam Carrigan, MRG’s event coordinator who serves as co-host of the upcoming Michigan Runner Girl Winter Weekend Getaway this Feb. 14-16 at the DNR’s Ralph A. MacMullen Conference Center near Roscommon Higgins Lake.

The friends talk about this upcoming all-women’s retreat – there’s still a few spots available and we’d love to have you join us this Valentine’s Day weekend! Yes, there will be (optional) running, but this weekend truly is about embracing the outdoors through snowshoeing, cross country skiing, and bonfires (and chocolate!). We’ll also have yoga, plenty of downtime, great good and drink, and special speakers. (Learn more and get signed up here: https://michiganrunnergirl.com/registration-open-for-3rd-annual-mrg-winter-weekend-getaway/ )

Maia also shares fun state park news and happenings, including information about the possibility of enjoying the experience of “tiny home” lodging at a state park. You’re sure to be inspired to start planning your state park adventures while listening to this episode. (Summer campground reservations are open!)

The friends also talk about their latest workout goals and accomplishments, as well as upcoming races they’re looking forward to – you’ll also hear how Maia believes she’s that annoying runner in races who says things to others that she maybe shouldn’t (Pam and Heather don’t believe it). All three women are taking on a Bayshore race this spring.

1 2 Next »