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Michigan Runner Girl

The Michigan Runner Girl podcast is where you'll find a passion for running crosses paths with a love of living healthy in the beautiful state of Michigan. Runner, mother, writer and lover of all things Michigan Heather Durocher, creator of the running and travel site MichiganRunnerGirl.com, hosts the show, along with regular appearances by fellow Michigan Runner Girls (and Guys). Expect to hear informative and entertaining conversations with runners, race directors and fitness experts throughout Michigan during this weekly show. You'll learn about new races to try and great places to explore on foot. The Michigan Runner Girl podcast is all about living in a state of motion.
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Now displaying: 2021
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:

@michiganrunnergirlshow on Instagram

@michiganrunnergirl on Instagram

@michigan-runner-girl on Facebook

Drop Heather a note at heather@michiganrunnergirl.com

Jun 22, 2021

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

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

"You should find something else to enjoy."

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

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

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

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

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

FIND MRG and HEATHER:

@michiganrunnergirlshow on Instagram

@michiganrunnergirl on Instagram

@michigan-runner-girl on Facebook

Drop Heather a note at heather@michiganrunnergirl.com

Jun 11, 2021

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

FIND MRG and HEATHER:

@michiganrunnergirlshow on Instagram

@michiganrunnergirl on Instagram

@michigan-runner-girl on Facebook

Drop Heather a note at heather@michiganrunnergirl.com

 

Jun 4, 2021

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

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

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

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

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

May 21, 2021

“It was absolutely the best day.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

FIND MRG and HEATHER:

@michiganrunnergirlshow on Instagram

@michiganrunnergirl on Instagram

@michigan-runner-girl on Facebook

Drop Heather a note at heather@michiganrunnergirl.com

Apr 30, 2021

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

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

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

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

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

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

FIND MRG and HEATHER:

@michiganrunnergirlshow on Instagram

@michiganrunnergirl on Instagram

@michigan-runner-girl on Facebook

Drop Heather a note at heather@michiganrunnergirl.com 

Apr 22, 2021

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

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

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

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

FIND MRG and HEATHER:

@michiganrunnergirlshow on Instagram

@michiganrunnergirl on Instagram

@michigan-runner-girl on Facebook

Drop Heather a note at heather@michiganrunnergirl.com 

Apr 13, 2021

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

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

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

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

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

FIND MRG and HEATHER:

@michiganrunnergirlshow on Instagram

@michiganrunnergirl on Instagram

@michigan-runner-girl on Facebook

Drop Heather a note at heather@michiganrunnergirl.com 

 
 
Mar 23, 2021

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

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

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

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

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FIND MRG and HEATHER:

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Drop Heather a note at heather@michiganrunnergirl.com 

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

 

Mar 15, 2021

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

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

FIND MRG and HEATHER:

@michiganrunnergirlshow on Instagram

@michiganrunnergirl on Instagram

@michigan-runner-girl on Facebook

Drop Heather a note at heather@michiganrunnergirl.com 

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

 

Mar 2, 2021

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

FIND MRG and HEATHER:

@michiganrunnergirlshow on Instagram

@michiganrunnergirl on Instagram

@michigan-runner-girl on Facebook

Drop Heather a note at heather@michiganrunnergirl.com 

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

Feb 9, 2021

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

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

FIND MRG and HEATHER:

@michiganrunnergirlshow on Instagram

@michiganrunnergirl on Instagram

@michigan-runner-girl on Facebook

Drop Heather a note at heather@michiganrunnergirl.com 

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

Jan 30, 2021

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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100 things to do this winter at Michigan state parks

FIND MRG and HEATHER:

@michiganrunnergirlshow on Instagram

@michiganrunnergirl on Instagram

@michigan-runner-girl on Facebook

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

Jan 19, 2021

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

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

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

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

FIND NORTH MITTEN:

Check out the North Mitten Facebook page here.

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

FIND MRG and HEATHER:

@michiganrunnergirlshow on Instagram

@michiganrunnergirl on Instagram

@michigan-runner-girl on Facebook

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

 



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