In just over a month, trail runners from all across Michigan, the Midwest and beyond will meet up at Hanson Hills Recreation Area in Grayling, Mich. for the inaugural Ragnar Michigan Trail. Organizers of this event expect more than 130 teams to participate in what’s being described as a two-day, one-night exploration of three smooth, single-track trails perfect for any runner experience level. The scenery is going to be amazing: lush forested pine and maple paths, rolling hills, scenic bluff vistas.
Ceara “CC” Pelletier, race director, joins Heather to talk all about this summer’s first-ever Ragnar Michigan Trail, set for June 15-16. With 8 people to a team (unlike Ragnar Road’s 12-person team set-up), the total number of miles covered throughout the weekend is 120. CC, who serves as race director of several other Ragnar Trail events throughout the U.S., is based in her home state of Maine. It was there, in the southern part of Maine, where she spent a lot of time in nature and on the trails. “I love the outdoors almost any activity that you can do outside. I have a type A personality, as most race directors do, but I would describe myself as a chill type A. I’m silly, goofy, and I love to make people laugh.”
CC talks about how she got into organizing races – she got started after graduating college and worked for a company out of South Portland, ME that put on three races each year. It wasn’t long before she got connected with Ragnar – she lived for two adventurous years in Salt Lake City, UT, where Ragnar is headquartered.
CC lets us know what we can expect at this year’s inaugural event (food trucks!) and why many Ragnarians absolutely love the “Glamping” option. And, there’s still time to sign up (just a little bit of time!) if you haven’t yet gotten your team registered. Use the code MRG2019 to take $80 off your team race entry at checkout. Registration closes Tuesday, May 7.
The popularity of the Bayshore Marathon, Half Marathon & 10K in Traverse City is undeniable. The event attracts thousands of runners, along with their families and friends, from all across the state and the U.S. to northern Michigan each Memorial Day weekend. And the race distances sell out -- the half marathon in particular is a sought-after race, filling up not long after race registration opens Dec. 1.
This year, the annual kick-off-to-summer race tradition features an all-new event: the Munson Healthcare Kids Marathon, a fun run that gets kids moving not only on race day (they run 1.2 miles at 2 p.m. on Saturday, May 25), but in the days leading up to race day as well. Adding a kids event was a long-held dream of TC Track Club members, and Lisa talks about what it means to see this come to fruition. So far, more than 300 kids have signed up for the run -- there's still time to get registered (kids get race bling at the finish line!). More details here.
The Traverse City Track Club, northern Michigan’s largest and oldest running club, organizes the Bayshore Marathon, Half Marathon & 10K. Lisa Taylor, the club's executive director and a past guest on the MRG Show, talks about what runners can expect at this year's races. Also new this year is an expanded packet pickup. The Playmakers Runners Expo/Packet Pickup takes place at the Traverse City Central High School Gym from 5 to 9 p.m on Friday night May 24 and Saturday, race day, from 5 to 7:15 a.m.
********************************************************Are you running Bayshore this Memorial Day weekend? MRG will be there! Heather is running the 10K this year, along with Joe, Andrew and Alex, while Emma is taking on the half marathon.
AND...If you’ve signed up for the marathon, half marathon or 10K, be sure to stop by the Michigan Runner Girl booth at the all-new Runner’s Expo.
We'd love to meet up with fellow Michigan Runner Girls & Guys and hear your stories! Stop by, share your race excitement, tell us about your running plans, and check out the latest MRG styles (We'll also have tanks and hoodies and also the popular Run Traverse City poster for sale!) It’s also an awesome opportunity to have a great time connecting with fellow runners and outdoor enthusiasts. See you there!
Also on this week's show: a preview of an all-new 5K on Old Mission Peninsula later this month. The Jolly Pumpkin 5K and One Mile takes place Sunday, May 19. This 5K starts at the lighthouse at the tip of Old Mission and features views of Grand Traverse Bay and cherry orchards. A post-race party takes place at Jolly Pumpkin restaurant. A special race discount code for this race is shared during the episode. Learn more about the race and get registered here: http://jollypumpkinrun.com/registration-traverse-city-mi/
For breathtaking Lake Michigan views, lots of spectator support, race distances for everyone, and an energetic finish line vibe in the heart of downtown Muskegon, the Mercy Health Seaway Run is the early-summer event to check out.
Taking place on the 4th Saturday in June each year, the Mercy Health Seaway Run has been a tradition along the Lakeshore for more than three decades. For the past couple of years, Heather has taken part in the event, as a runner in the half marathon and 10K, and as a participant in the race expo that is held the Friday before the races. The event also features a 5K and Community Fun Walk course, winding through historic neighborhoods with views of Muskegon Lake.
Race Director and runner Andrew Buikema joins Heather to talk about this year’s races, set for June 22. They talk all about this year’s events, which includes a slightly altered half marathon course, the event’s 8 new race ambassadors, the special beer that’s being offered at the finish (made just for this race), and lots more -- including how Andrew is training for the Bayshore Marathon this spring and how he has a big goal in mind for this race. They also catch up about this spring’s memorable Gazelle Girl Half Marathon, 10K & 5K – Heather talks about her half marathon with Emma while Andrew, who was there throughout the weekend to help with the race and have a booth at the race expotique, shares what it was like to be at the finish line as the final runner crossed – as snow continued to fall. That’s April in Michigan for you!
Learn more about the Seaway Run and get registered here: https://seawayrun.com/
A special race discount code for MRG listeners and readers is mentioned during the show as well.
The Holland Haven Marathon, Half Marathon and 8K keeps on growing—last year the September races in west Michigan saw a 60% increase in registrations, with nearly 900 runners participating and 2,000 people taking part in the after-party. Eddie Kline, race founder and director, returns to the podcast to talk about this year’s event, now in its sixth year and set for Sunday, Sept. 8 in Holland, Mich. “The half marathon almost sold out last year, and it will for sure this year,” he says.
Eddie and Heather also talk about his “tale of two halves and a failed BQ” at last fall’s Columbus Marathon. Eddie gets candid about realizing during the race that things weren’t going the way he’d planned—and how he ultimately changed his mind-set and found a way to remain positive about the experience. “In the end, the people made the difference for me. Even with a failed BQ, I had an amazing marathon and loved every minute of it.” Eddie is tackling his first ultramarathon, a 50-miler at Dances with Dirt this September in Pinckney, Mich.
With his Holland Haven race, Eddie says he wanted to create a quality hometown race experience for runners, along with providing a final opportunity to snag a Boston-qualifying time in west Michigan. Unlike many races, the Holland Haven offers an expo on race day itself as part of the post-race party that features free beer, cider, and food—for runners as well as spectators. Eddie talks about this year’s new feature—a team runner series—and how the race gives back to local charities and organizations including Camp Geneva, Team Red, White and Blue, and Medals4Mettle.
Race details on the Holland Haven Marathon, Half Marathon and 8K website: https://www.hollandhavenmarathon.com/
He’s run 5Ks with his family, and remembers taking on the Bayshore 10K back in the day when he was young, but Trevor Tkach still doesn't exactly call himself a runner (Heather tells him otherwise). And yet, the 42-year-old father of three decided this winter to step it up and take on his longest distance to date: 13.1 miles. Trevor acknowledges he’s going outside his comfort zone by training for his first half marathon – the Bayshore Half Marathon that takes place over Memorial Day weekend in his hometown – and so far, the training he’s experience has exceeded his expectations.
"I hit the 6-mile mark this weekend and it felt good. The mistakes I’ve made in the past when I was younger, they were 'Oh, it’s a beautiful day, I just want to go run forever, but I’m not ready for it.' I would not train. I’d go run 6 or 9 miles and then I’d pay for it the rest of the week. But after running these 6 miles, the day after I felt great, because I have followed the training."
Trevor, who is the CEO and president of Traverse City Tourism, shares how he decided to take on the half marathon (his friend and training partner, Justin, played a big role), the food he is looking forward to eating after (and maybe during) his race, and what it feels like to slowly increase his distance and evolve from a “2- to 3-mile runner” to a distance runner.
Trevor also talks about his role in helping bring IRONMAN 70.3 to Traverse City this August, the positive impacts this event will have on northern Michigan, and what he says is his absolute perfect day in the Traverse City area. Finally, he gives the inside scoop on some great ways to celebrate Michigan Wine Month this May if you’re traveling north.
Looking for a great, beginner-friendly trail run this summer? The 13th annual Brainy Day Trail Run 10K & 5K on August 17 in Nunica, Michigan has all the makings of the perfect off-road race: a 5K that's scenic and comfortable for those of us just getting into trail running, and a 10K that provides plenty of challenging fun (yep, there are hills!). The race, which has grown considerably in the past couple of years and benefits the Brainy Day Fund, also boasts an incredible after-party—homemade banana bread, anyone? In addition, Michigan craft brewer Oddside Ales provides cold ones and there's local pizza, fruit and other goodies.
"I think as runners there are some races every year we run, and there are some races we do every year because it's a great experience," says race director Kevin Curley. "Our main goal is to create an experience."
An extra bonus—and at the heart of this race—is proceeds go to an important cause. The Brainy Day Trail Run supports and raises awareness for those who suffer from a neurological condition called hydrocephalus. All proceeds are donated to The Brainy Day Fund, which supports families through a scholarship program as well as provides research grants for medical professionals looking to end hydrocephalus.
A race discount code is shared during the episode, just for MRG listeners. Use it before early bird pricing ends March 31 for the best savings.
Also on this week's show...Jonny is back in northern Michigan!! Musician Jonny Tornga, who is part of the production team here at the MRG podcast, has spent the past couple of years in New York City, where he worked for Lululemon and truly found his, ahem, footing in the running community. Heather is super excited to have him on the show to give us a run-down (sorry, too many puns?) on life as a runner in the Big Apple and what it's like to return to his hometown after some time away. Jonny, who is training for this spring's Bayshore Marathon in Traverse City, started running because of his involvement in producing this show. He ran his first 5K at the Great Beerd Run and then jumped to the 25K at the Riverbank Run.
"I got to do a lot of growing up as a runner in New York City, which is an experience all on its own," he says. Winter running isn't the same in NYC, he found. "It's cold, but we get very little snow there. So that's been interesting coming back [to Traverse City] and training for the Bayshore this year. I had turned into a little bit of a wuss out there. We get a lot of rain, so I ran in a lot of rain. It's been interesting...and dealing with cars. In New York City, it's normal to run in the streets and you come here and it's a little bit frowned upon sometimes to run in the streets. So that's been another interesting thing."
Jonny is training for his second marathon, this spring's Bayshore Marathon. "It's a longer distance for me, but I'm excited to dig into it."
Who doesn't love a shiny, new race medal draped around their neck after crossing the finish line of a race? Yep, we runners and triathletes dig the bling that comes with pushing through the miles and into the finish chute, whether the race is a hard-won accomplishment after months of training or a super fun run with family or friends. But what do you do with all of those medals? Hang them in your home? Stash them in a box in your closet?
West Michigan runners Heather Dunbar and Eddie Kline share their involvement with Medals4Mettle, an organization that takes donated medals and awards them to children and adults who must run a much more difficult race as they struggle to save their lives. "These medals are awarded to honor the mettle and courage it takes to face the challenges of the race we all share together: the human race."
Heather Dunbar is coordinator of the Grand Rapids chapter of Medals4 Mettle, and Eddie Kline is the race director of the Holland Haven Marathon, Half Marathon and 8K as well as the Backward Mile, an event that takes place April 23 and benefits Medals 4 Mettle.
About the Backward Mile in Holland, which takes place Tuesday, April 23:
The Backward Mile is a fun family run for a great cause. Runners will start at the finish line and end at the start line. Runners will dress backward and run backward. Instead of receiving a finisher medal, runners turn in an old race medal. The Backward Mile will collect an old race medal from each participant, then donate those medals to Medals4Mettle. These medals are awarded to residents at Benjamin's Hope in Holland, Mich. to pay it forward to those who must run a much more difficult race than the medal donor’s race; a race they did not choose to run. (Not required to turn in a medal to participate, everyone is welcome)
Coming off three big endurance sport conferences, including the 2019 Running USA Industry Conference held Feb. 10-12 in San Juan, Puerto Rico, Eva Solomon catches up with Heather and brings listeners up to speed on some of the latest happenings in the world of running and triathlon.
Eva, who is co-founder and owner of Epic Races, a race management company in southeast Michigan, also talks about the upcoming Ann Arbor Marathon, Marathon Relay, Half Marathon, 10K & 5K. And, all new this year, a 19-mile training run (a perfect long run for those in the final weeks of training for this year's Boston Marathon, Eva says.)
Eva shares what runners can expect at this year's Ann Arbor Marathon, which is set for Sunday, March 24. Midway through the show, Eva and Heather are joined by two runners and veterans who are part of Team Red White and Blue (Team RWB), an organization that Epic Races partners with for many of their racing events. Ryan Taylor, a U.S. Marine Corp veteran, is a cyclist and marathoner. Thomas Sumner, a U.S. Army veteran who has been involved with Team RWB for a few years, shares how he went from being "a couch potato" to walking many miles while carrying a heavy backpack.
Ann Arbor Marathon details: All events start and finish in view of one of Ann Arbor’s most memorable landmarks, The University of Michigan Stadium. Participants run through downtown Ann Arbor, then wind their way through the city’s streets and parks as well as the University of Michigan campus. The marathon and half marathon courses also encompass stretches along the Huron River and Gallup Park and through Nichols Arboretum before returning to campus and downtown. The full marathon is two loops.
The 10K is a true trail running going through Nichols Arboretum including the infamous “Arb Hill”!
The 5K is a beautiful run through The University of Michigan’s campus and the surrounding area with a fun finish line party with all four races hosted by 26.2 Brew (Eva gives us the low-down on this new Samuel Adams beer.)
When exactly did you take that first step that led you toward becoming a runner? Maybe a friend or family member inspired you to give it a try. Maybe it was a life experience of some kind that triggered self-reflection and ultimately the decision to do things differently, to try something you’d never tried before because you knew it could be good for you.
Each of us has our own reason for starting to run and move more—and going down the path that can lead to seriously amazing changes for our health and well-being. And before we know it, running somehow evolves from simply an activity to a way of living. Our lifestyles, and the people we find ourselves meeting and gravitating toward, are entirely different in the best possible ways compared to where we had been before.
Jennifer Lotterman, a runner from west Michigan, and Holly Visser, a runner, yoga teacher and race director of this spring’s Gazelle Girl Half Marathon, 10K, and 5K in Grand Rapids, share their stories of becoming runners and how their paths have intersected along the way.
This is a conversation we all can relate to: how we find ourselves becoming runners and how that changes our lives. If you’re thinking, I’m not sure I am a runner, or I want to become a runner but I’m not sure how this works exactly—or, you’ve been running and active for a long time and could use some inspiration and reminding about why this lifestyle is just so rewarding and wonderful (and who couldn’t use some of that?)—this episode is for you.
Holly also shares details of this spring's Gazelle Girl Half Marathon, 10K & 5K, set for Sunday, April 14 in Grand Rapids. Race weekend is going to be something special this year with a Friday event featuring speaker and inspiring runner Mirna Valerio.
Be sure to use the special MRG discount code to save $5 on your race entry. Code: GG19MRG5
Register here: http://gazellegirlhalfmarathon.com/
What happens when you get more than 35 fabulous, outdoor-loving, active women together for a winter weekend away in the woods? One memorable, epic adventure.
On this latest episode, you’ll hear all about the awesome activities that are part of the annual MRG Winter Weekend Getaway in Roscommon, Michigan, which this year took place Feb. 8-10. You’ll also hear from the women themselves, who participated in the event’s LIVE podcast recording that featured special guest Mike Swinger, a northern Michigan physical therapist who stopped by to share his expertise and answer all of our running injury and prevention questions—and oh, did we ever have some questions for him!
Heather and retreat co-host Pam Carrigan Swinger talk with Mike, a father of four who recently published a book, “Runner’s Fix,” which is for runners wanting to stay injury-free and run their best. It covers all the common areas where runners tend to have struggles and gives suggestions for how to address these areas on your own. (We gave away a couple of copies during the retreat weekend, and we’ve got a couple more to give away to listeners of this episode! Details are shared by Heather near the end of the conversation.)
Mike has worked closely with runners of all ages and abilities, ranging from first-time 5K runners to collegiate All-Americans, Boston qualifiers, and Ironman competitors, helping them stay injury-free. He started his website RunPhys.com in 2015 as a resource for runners with videos covering running form, exercise routines, and injury prevention.
The MRG Winter Weekend Getaway takes place each winter, usually in late January or early February, at the Ralph A. MacMullen Conference Center on Higgins Lake. This is a stunning Michigan Department of Natural Resources property – MRG is proud to partner with the DNR on this retreat and gives back a percentage of all merchandise proceeds each year to our beautiful state parks. The weekend includes snowshoeing, cross country skiing, running, yoga, great food and drink, rest & relaxation (chair massages, anyone?), special speakers, and a whole lot of laughter and connection with like-minded women from all across the state of Michigan (and sometimes beyond!). Learn more about MRG special events here.
“If you had told me four years ago I was going to be a triathlete, I would have laughed. It was nothing I had an inspiration to do, and quite frankly, it was something that seemed intimidating to me to do.”
This is how northern Michigan runner Deb Kimball described her thoughts about triathlon prior to deciding to go for it and give swimming-biking-running a try in the past couple of years. Being part of a team of new and experienced triathletes—Tri Again Fitness—has made all the difference for this Traverse City athlete. “So much of my love of triathlon is really a love of the people I'm training with. Our team is like a family.”
Deb Kimball and fellow Tri Again Fitness team member Kasha Martin join Heather on the show to talk about their evolution as runners-turned-triathletes. Both are training for IRONMAN 70.3 Traverse City this Aug. 25. Deb prefers nighttime workouts in the pool, while Kasha is committed to early morning exercise so that she can focus the rest of her day on work and being mom to her four young children.
Both women talk about how they came to love triathlon and what it means to be part of a team. They also share what it’s like to be married to triathletes and how they fit training in their full lives. “Triathlon training is my part-time job...It’s a huge time commitment,” Deb says.
Both Deb and Kasha had to work hard to become swimmers. “I pretty much floundered in the water,” Deb said. “I was not a swimmer. I doggy paddled,” added Kasha.
Having team support is amazing, both women said. “When you go to these events, it’s not just you. It’s a group of people. You’re in it together and they’re cheering you on.”
“They’re waiting for you at the finish line,” Kasha said. Her advice for anyone looking to give triathlon a try? “Go find yourself a team or club or anything because it really makes the world of difference.”
After a couple of weeks away from the studio (thanks to the extreme weather and, well, life), Heather is back behind the mic to catch up with everyone. She talks about her latest race, the Big Foot Snowshoe 10K in Traverse City at the end of January, as well as how training is going in the pool so far.
We've definitely had our fair share of true winter weather lately (late January was a BEAST throughout Michigan and the Midwest) and Heather takes this opportunity to talk winter running tips—how to stay moving while staying safe and warm when heading outside for your workout. Thanks to the many awesome tips shared with the MRG community on the Facebook page—be sure to check out the updated MRG Winter Running Guide.
Finally, Heather is looking forward to this weekend's 2nd Annual MRG Winter Weekend Getaway in Roscommon. She shares details of this event—and how you can still join the fun.
Though he grew up playing sports and being an active kid, Dave Hester found himself “always achy and miserable” during the time following his college years. “I layed around a lot, I worked a lot and gained a lot of weight,” said Dave, who is 6’6” and during this period weighed 270 pounds. “That was the only time [in my life] I had been like that. It was four or five years, I sunk into a depressive state. One day I said, ‘Nope, not anymore.’ I needed to turn my life around. I ate right and started exercising. My motivation was not wanting to feel that way.”
Holly Olszewski also experienced a somewhat similar “a-ha” moment relating to her health and well-being. “After my third child was born, I weighed 237 pounds and my doctor said, ‘You’re going to die and you need to do something about it. You’re not on a good path.’ That really spoke to me and really motivated me to change. I had three children in two years, so there was a lot going on. I made up my mind that it was important to be there for them and help them learn a healthy lifestyle.” She started walking a mile every day. “Then it turned into running and the running turned into triathlon.” She lost 90 pounds and has maintained a healthy weight.
Holly and Dave, both music teachers for Traverse City Area Public Schools and teammates with Tri Again Fitness, share their inspiring journeys with Heather. Both are training for this summer’s IRONMAN 70.3 Traverse City. They describe what it’s like to have found their tribe—Tri Again Fitness—of like-minded people. They also talk about the ups (making strong connections with others, accomplishing big goals) and downs (losing friends) that come with making a big lifestyle change.
Holly and Dave are candid about what they’ve learned as they became stronger athletes and some of the biggest hurdles—Holly had to overcome a great fear of deep water in order to learn how to swim and complete a triathlon and Dave says he’s learned so many lessons from his race mishaps early on in his journey.
On this very first show of 2019, Heather is joined by two frequent guests and friends Maia Turek and Pam Carrigan to talk all about the upcoming second annual MRG Winter Weekend Getaway in Roscommon, Mich.
But before diving into the details of this amazing event (we’ve still got spots available!), these three catch up on one another’s holidays, the snow that (finally) has arrived in northern Michigan, how they’ve been (attempting) to stay active, Maia’s discovery of how not to pour drinks into Solo cups, snowshoeing with dogs, and the power of January 7 (when the new year and resolutions really get underway, right?).
The MRG Winter Weekend Getaway is next month, Feb. 8-10, and is again taking place at the Ralph A. MacMullen Conference Center on Higgins Lake. This is a beautiful Department of Natural Resources property, located in the woods on the shores of the lake, and the all-inclusive, 2-day retreat features cross country skiing, snowshoeing, running, rest & relaxation, Sunday morning yoga, great food and drink, and lots more (including a “live” podcast recording with a special guest talking about ways we can prevent and treat common running injuries).
Maia, who works for the DNR and took part in last year’s event, and Pam, who is MRG’s event coordinator, reflect back on last year’s event, which included 30-some other women from around the state (and beyond – one participant traveled from the west coast to join us!). “There are two people from the retreat last year – one of them I keep in touch with on Facebook only and I love to see when she accomplishes things and gets in her miles and finishes her races,” Maia shares. “I get to cheer her on over Facebook…and then another woman, she came by herself and she immediately connected with me and my friend and became the three musketeers throughout the weekend and she’s one of our favorite people.”
There’s an amazing group of women signed on for this year’s event – women of all ages and at varying stages of life and health and wellness journeys. All are welcome, whether you’ve only begun to run, are thinking of starting to run and be more active, or you’ve finished many races and have been active for a long time. Get the inside scoop on this great gathering of like-minded women during this episode.
More details here, too: https://michiganrunnergirl.com/2019-mrg-winter-weekend-getaway/
Heather shares some special MRG announcements in this short and sweet episode—the final show of 2018.
* Special events where you can catch MRG (hint: the team will be traveling to a number of places across the state!)
* The upcoming MRG Winter Weekend Getaway, in partnership with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, taking place Feb. 8-10, 2019.
* Race and training plans for 2019, including tackling IRONMAN 70.3 Traverse City on Aug. 25.
Thanks for listening in 2018—we can't wait to see you in 2019! Lots of great guests to come!
Ann Arbor triathlete Nikki Derrick wore race bib #1184 at this fall's Ironman World Championship in Kona, Hawaii—the same number worn by her close friend Karen Perzyk in the 2016 event.
Nikki, 47, requested this number as a way to honor Karen, a beloved friend and fellow Michigan triathlete, who died in January after a brief battle with stage IV esophageal cancer.
Karen's death at age 49 was a devastating loss for Nikki, and for many others in their close-knit group of endurance athlete friends. It was Karen who inspired Nikki to return to competing in triathlons again after several years away from the sport. Karen was the kind of person whose enthusiasm for life and love of movement were infectious, Nikki says. She loved watching her friends succeed and was their biggest cheerleader.
Nikki shares how she decided to turn her race in Hawaii into a tribute to Karen, a way to honor the friend who meant so much to her and to so many others.
Nikki gives a detailed account of the World Championship in Kona and what it felt like to be there without her friend ... and what it felt like to push through the 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bicycle ride, and a tough, hot 26.2 to reach the finish line.
Heather and Nikki also talk about her love of mountain biking (she finished strong at this November's Iceman Cometh Challenge in Traverse City) and what's next for her in the coming year (a marathon out west, in wine country, among other adventures). They also talk about where Nikki finds her motivation, and how she carves out time for staying active while also being committed to her job as a physician assistant at the University of Michigan Hospital in Ann Arbor.
It’s about that time … time to get serious about starting training for Ironman 70.3 Traverse City, a 1.2-mile swim, 56-mile bike and 13.1-mile run triathlon set for Aug. 25, 2019. Yes, this race is 8 months away. There is plenty of time ahead to get ready for this inaugural race. And yet, if you’re like Heather and this distance and event is going to be a first for you, you just might be thinking of getting things rolling in the coming weeks, as winter gets underway. For Heather, the swim portion is definitely a key component of earlier-than-later training. As she shares during this episode, getting into the pool this month, at least a couple of times, is part of the plan.
Heather talks with guests Rebecca and Tony Venticinque, both of whom are accomplished triathletes and seasoned coaches. Heather will be working with Tony and Rebecca, who operate Tri Again Fitness in Traverse City, as she trains for Ironman 70.3 Traverse City. Rebecca also shares her most recent full Ironman experience, a Nov. 4 race that almost didn’t happen in Florida because of Hurricane Michael. It was moved from Panama City Beach to Haines City, Fla. “After the hurricane hit … it was all up in the air even three weeks before the race,” she said. Tony was there as well, this time a volunteer and not competing as he has in two other full Ironman events. Rebecca talks about what it was like to complete this race in pretty warm conditions and, later in the race, a downpour.
Rebecca and Tony provide a preview of what’s to come in Heather’s training throughout winter and spring and during the summer (open water swimming!) as race day gets closer. Tony and Rebecca’s coaching business also includes a team of athletes, many of whom are signed on for Ironman 70.3 Traverse City. They’re also hosting a 70.3 triathlon training camp, May 10-12, 2019, that is open to anyone interested in preparing for the Traverse City event – or other triathlons.
Lodging, meals, group training, and plenty of optional topics will be discussed throughout the weekend. Full course previews of the Traverse City event also will be part of the weekend.
With over 45 years of combined coaching experience, Tri Again Fitness has helped coach individuals to national recognition, club national team wins, multiple World Team qualifications at all triathlon distances, all-American honors, Boston Marathon qualifiers and helped countless athletes achieve personal bests and lifelong milestones.
Tony has been coaching in one respect or another since 1991, and professionally coaching triathlon since 2006. Professional accomplishments at the USAT Club Nationals include winning the Division V in 2009 and securing runner-up at the Division IV in 2010. He’s also coached 21 age group athletes to 33 world team qualifications at the sprint, olympic, 70.3 and 140.6 distances over the past five years. Tony is a USA Triathlon Certified Level 2 Coach and USA Cycling Certified Level 2 coach.
Rebecca is an athlete turned coach. She has coached since 1993 in various sports. She has a Bachelors of Science in Management of Health Services, Group Exercise certification from ASFA Personal Training Certification from ISSA. USAT (Triathlon) certification and USATF (Track and Field) certification.
No matter where you live in Michigan, or where you may be visiting for the Thanksgiving holiday, a turkey trot likely isn’t too far away. In this latest episode of the Michigan Runner Girl show, Heather highlights several taking place around our beautiful Great Lakes State – all listed on the MRG Race & Event Calendar – and also sits down with the race organizers of her hometown turkey trot.
The Up North Media Traverse City Turkey Trot, now in its 11th year, is a Thanksgiving morning tradition for Heather and her family. In recent time, her dad has joined as a walker in the 5K run/walk event that starts and ends in the downtown area, at St. Francis High School on 11th Street. Heather talks with race founder Brian Hagerty, a hilarious guest who takes a look back on how this race started more than a decade ago, the changes it’s gone through over the years (venue and course updates being among them), the interesting costumes that come out each year, and how this year will be extra special because it’s his daughter’s birthday. Also joining Heather and Brian is Race Director Amy Fritz, a newer runner and recent half marathon finisher. She talks about how she trained for the Bayshore Half Marathon this past spring and was excited to exceed her goal of a 2-hour finish. (“I got really into running last year,” she shares.)
The conversation covers what runners can expect at the Traverse City event as well as explores why turkey trots are such great events for families. Brian shares how he’s taken part in several different ones over the years, in places such as Detroit and Chicago, while visiting family. Brian, Amy, and Heather all agree that these events help bring families together in a different and special way – whether your family members consider themselves runners or not. Most turkey trots are 5Ks, though some offer other distances, such as Traverse City’s 5-mile option. It’s just such a good way to get outdoors together. “It’s a neat space for everyone,” Brian says. “It’s special to see all those families get together,” Amy added.
Special discount codes are mentioned for both the Traverse City Turkey Trot and also the Grand Rapids event.
MRG Contributor Ali Lopez is back on the show to talk about her most recent adventure: the Bad Apple Ultra, which takes place in late October each year in Greenville, Mich. near Grand Rapids. This Oct. 27 event is a timed ultra marathon event held at Klackle Orchards. A timed ultra—what does that mean, you may be wondering. You have the choice of doing a 3-, 6- or 12-hour run on a 4-mile loop through an apple orchard, pumpkin patch, wooded trails and a carnival!
"When I tell most people that you run a 4-mile loop as many times as you can in the time you pick, the first question is always 'doesn’t it get boring???'" Ali says. "Absolutely not."
Ali shares what it was like to take on a race like this, and what it meant to her following a year in which she came off an eye injury (which prevented her from running and being active for a long while).
"When it got tough out there, I just remembered, 'I get to do this' and a smile would cross my face. I found that during each loop, my head was in a new place (as happens with ultras), and my body was in a new place."
The Michigan Runner Girl Show is made possible in part by the Grand Traverse Resort & Spa.
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A special thanks to Mike Moran, Mike Youker and Jonny Tornga of Quarter After Productions in Traverse City, Mich. for producing the show. Check out this studio's work
When two of the funniest women you know get together—finally—to share stories of great Michigan trails to explore and fall races to run, you just know it's going to be epic. This is, of course, what happened when Maia Turek, statewide recreation programmer for the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, and Kelly Yauk, e-marketing manager for the Grand Traverse Resort and Spa in Traverse City, joined Heather in the studio for the latest show.
While they've all known one another for awhile now, this recording marked the first time Heather, Kelly and Maia all sat down together—and just as Heather suspected, the gathering was one for the books. Kelly and Maia are hilarious and smart and just a ton of fun to be around. Topics covered ran the gamut, from the Great Beerd Run next month at the Resort (Kelly is the mastermind behind this untimed fun run 5K that incorporates beer stations throughout the course) and the creative ways runners at this event celebrate "all things beers and beards," to the cool connection Maia and Kelly have with each other (Kelly's dad has worked for the DNR for a long time; he is an expert on our state's beautiful trails) and how the two of them first met (a motorcycle was involved). They also talk excitedly about the Iron Belle Trail, which extends more than 2,000 miles from the far western tip of the Upper Peninsula to Belle Isle in Detroit on a biking trail and hiking trail. The biking route utilizes many of the state’s existing bike paths, bike lanes, and signed, designated biking routes as it travels up the east side of the state, while the hiking route utilizes sidewalks, trails, and the 1,000-mile plus North Country National Scenic Trail traveling up the west side of the lower peninsula.
Get ready to laugh—and sign up for next month's Great Beerd Run-when you listen to this episode. Kelly and Heather convinced Maia to join the fun at the 5K on Nov. 10—you all should join us, too. (Discount code shared during the show!)
It’s a big week for fall racing in Michigan with this Sunday marking the 41st running of the Detroit Free Press Chemical Bank Marathon and Half Marathon. Since 1989, Barbara Bennage has been involved with helping organizing this race tradition in The D. She’s served as executive race director of the event since 2014.
“The best part about my job, aside from giving runners the opportunity to experience a unique race and change their lives, is I have the greatest staff in the world,” says Barbara, who works in the marketing department at the Detroit Free Press and describes herself as a recreational runner – “I run for mimosas,” she jokes.
This race brings between 26,000 – 27,000 runners to the downtown streets of Detroit, across the Ambassador Bridge into the Canada (for the international races), and onto Belle Isle. Barbara shares the history of the longstanding race – it started as the Motor City Marathon in 1963; the course began including the Ambassador Bridge, which connects Detroit with Windsor, Ontario, Canada, in the late 1970s – and also explains how today there are both international and domestic distances for runners, and what that means for the runner experience.
Barbara also talks about the race’s health and fitness expo that takes place in Cobo Hall this Friday and Saturday. More than 100 exhibitors will be on hand for this event. The race after-party, meanwhile, is a big celebration that offers some $5,000 in giveaways.
While online registration is over, runners still can sign up for domestic races this weekend (not race day) at the health and fitness expo. There is a 5K and mile option, too. Learn more at the race web site: https://www.freepmarathon.com/
When was the last time you tried something different with your exercise routine, when you decided it was time to shake things up -- and then you went for it?
Heather and co-host Cassy Stone dive deep into what it means to ask ourselves, "What's next?" as it relates to considering a big goal, whether it's starting to run for the first time, training for a first 5K, getting back into running after a break (due to injury, illness, or otherwise), or testing out a new-to-you sport. Heather and Cassy share their own experiences of breaking out of ruts and setting big goals. They reflect on what these endeavors meant to them at the time -- and how they helped shape their lives, both as runners and as women, wives, mothers, and friends.
Heather talks about why she feels now is the time to go big by signing up for her first IRONMAN 70.3 next summer. Cassy shares how living with a chronic disease impacts her running and everyday life -- and how she's looking forward to seeing where her determination and strength will take her at an upcoming 5K.
Heather and Cass also laugh their way through a conversation about a shared favorite podcast featuring a well-known film and TV star (and Michigan native).
If you've ever found yourself thinking it's time to shake things up a little, but maybe you're not sure exactly how that'll look, this episode is for you. You'll be inspired to get moving in the direction your heart is leading you.
Next summer, on Aug. 25, Michigan will get its second IRONMAN 70.3 – behind IRONMAN 70.3 Steelhead in Benton Harbor, set for June 30, 2019 – when Traverse City hosts the triathlon featuring a 1.2-mile swim, 56-mile bike, and 13.1-mile run.
Buzz around this new event has been significant, to say the least, with athletes throughout Michigan and beyond eagerly anticipating registration day last month. And when general registration opened on Sept. 25, the race filled up incredibly fast – within a half hour, according to race organizers. Heather is among the 2,500 athletes signed on for this race.
To hear all about this exciting new event coming to northern Michigan, Heather sat down with Frank Lowery, Midwest and Great Plains Regional Director for IRONMAN, and Joel Gaff, IRONMAN 70.3 Traverse City race director.
While exact course details aren’t yet available – Joel and Frank are now working on building out where athletes will swim, bike, and run – they do share that the race will take participants into West Grand Traverse Bay, into Leelanau County, and around Boardman Lake and through downtown Traverse City. They also offer up great insight into what an IRONMAN race is really like, the training that’s involved, the athletes (of all ages and experience) who come out for these events, and many more details. As triathletes themselves (Joel, a Traverse City native and longtime race director, recently finished his 6th full IRONMAN races), Heather’s guests are well versed in triathlon and share their own experiences taking on swim-bike-run events.
Thinking about heading to Traverse City this fall or early winter for a race weekend getaway? Coryn Briggs, a northern Michigan runner and cyclist who works for Traverse City Tourism, gives listeners a preview of upcoming events and races taking place in the area over the next few months.
Coryn, who is behind Traverse City Tourism's social media channels — she serves as digital marketing manager for TC Tourism — also shares some lodging specials you may want to take advantage of, whether you're making it a girls' weekend, couples getaway, or family mini-vacation.
Coryn and Heather talk about their own experiences with these northern Michigan races, which include: the Sleeping Bear Marathon, Half Marathon and 5K on Oct. 6 in Empire, Mich.; Traverse City's 10th annual Zombie Run on Oct. 27; the 5th annual Great Beerd Run on Nov. 10 (which takes place during Traverse City Beer Week, Nov. 9-16 - and there's a special MRG discount code); the Up North Turkey Trot on Nov. 22; and the Farmland 5K Run and Free for All Bike on Dec. 1 on the east side of Traverse City.
Coryn also shares her family's trip to the U.P. this summer, for the popular Ore to Shore mountain bike races in Marquette.
Traverse City Tourism has a new site, which provides information on special lodging deals as well as other resources. Heather recently contributed a blog post about great places to see autumn color on a run. You can read it here.
Farmland 5K: https://www.farmlandtc.com
Great Beerd Run: http://thegreatbeerdrun.com
Zombie Run: http://www.tczombierun.com
Sleeping Bear Marathon, Half Marathon & 5K: https://www.enduranceevolution.com/sleeping-bear-marathon-half-marathon-5k/
Up North TurkeyTrot: http://www.tcturkeytrot.com