Exploring Michigan's great outdoors and getting a great workout in while doing so is what Cari Draft's company EcoTrek Fitness is all about. Cari, who lives in Spring Lake with her husband Jeff and their son Austin, is one of west Michigan's most active and community-involved personal fitness trainers. She talks with Heather about her active lifestyle and the ways in which she is helping others embrace an active and healthy lifestyle. Her EcoTrek Fitness business now operates out of several locations in Michigan as well as a location in West Virginia, and she is behind a line of whole food bars. She's a popular fitness guru on Facebook and Twitter, with thousands of followers who know her as @FitGirlCari. Learn all about EcoTrek Fitness during the show, including memorable moments on the trails and in the woods with fellow outdoor enthusiasts. Cari and her company, EcoTrek Fitness, were one of only three organizations in the state named 2012 Governor's Fitness Awards/Michigan Fitness Council Extraordinary Event/Organization Award Honoree. In June 2012, Cari was one of 12 women nominated as West Michigan Woman Magazine's Most Influential Woman. In October 2013, Cari was an Honoree at the GVSU Women in Sport and Physical Activity event, as well as the Keynote Speaker. Most recently Cari was named one of 48 Women's Health Magazine ACTION HEROES for 2016.
You've got a big trip planned this summer, or maybe you're traveling right now for a spring getaway to someplace tropical -- what are your plans for keeping up with your running and exercise routine? This episode gives you ideas for getting your sweat on during vacations, family excursions or business trips. Sometimes it's not too difficult to fit in exercise -- you might be following a training plan and getting the chance to run outdoors, along a new, shady path, can be pretty amazing. Sometimes, though, it can be tough to find the motivation (beach walks and poolside cocktails are calling!) Heather, who just returned from a family spring break trip down south, is joined by running friends (and frequent MRG podcast co-hosts) Lisa Taylor, Pam Carrigan and Erin Henshaw. Each runner shares memorable explorations by foot in far-flung destinations as well as places throughout Michigan that are not too far from home. They all agree: having the chance to discover a new city or locale through running is pretty special.
The BIG Little Hero Race, a 10K/5K/free kids fun run organized by business students at Northwestern Michigan College, is back for its second year this spring. On today's show, Heather talks with Race Director Kyle Brownley, business professor (and runner) Kristy McDonald and students-turned-race-organizers Nicole Trine-Koewers and Justin Brown about the April 16 race. Tony Anderson, a northern Michigan marathoner and passionate advocate for children, also joins the conversation. Last year's event raised more than $8,000 for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northwestern Michigan. The race started last year as a service project for students taking Kristy's business communications class. The event was such a success that it's become an annual tradition, helping the students gain real-world experience helping give back to their community. This is a super hero-themed race taking place at Northwestern Michigan College in Traverse City. Heather and her family are planning to run this one together. Join the fun on Saturday, April 16. (Free capes will be given to all kids!)
BIG Little Hero Race site: www.biglittleherorace.com
Registration site: https://events.bytepro.net/biglittleherorace
Blog post on MRG about this year's event: http://michiganrunnergirl.com/superhero-themed-10k-5k-fun-run-benefitting-kids-set-for-april-16/
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northwestern Michigan: http://bigsupnorth.com
Downtown Grand Rapids each spring plays host to the Gazelle Girl Half Marathon & 5K, attracting hundreds of runners to the female-focused event. This year's races, which are all about empowering women, take place April 17, with 100% of proceeds benefitting the event's charity partners. Heather takes a closer look at this race, which she ran with friends in 2014. Cara Zerbel, co-race director and assistant store manager for Gazelle Sports in Grand Rapids, joins Heather on the show to talk about what's new for the 2016 Gazelle Girl Half Marathon & 5K (hear all about the "double down" medals now available to 5K runners participating in Gazelle Girl and the Fifth Third River Bank Run in May). Grand Rapids runner Colleen Urquhart, who has served as a team leader with Gazelle Sports training groups, also joins the conversation and shares why the Gazelle Girl Half Marathon & 5K is close to her heart -- she's run each one since its inception four years ago: "I am looking forward to scoring the double down medal again this year."
While races that pit runners against obstacles like slippery climbing walls and mounds of mud have grown in popularity in recent years, few can claim they place athletes along the shores of one of our Great Lakes. The second annual ForeShore Adventure Run, set for May 21, does just that, at a Lake Michigan beach in Muskegon. It just might be the only one of its kind. "There are a couple of things that make this run unique: the setting — the run takes place on a world-class beach — and the number and type of obstacles the runners will have to conquer," says Dan Skoglund, assistant executive director at Muskegon Rescue Mission, which is behind the event that'll take place at Pere Marquette Beach Park on Lake Michigan. Heather talks with Dan about this year's event, which is family-friendly and features more climbing and more water fun compared to the inaugural event, thanks to runner feedback. On the show Dan shares the an important aspect of this race: Proceeds go toward providing shelter, food and care "for the most vulnerable in our community — homeless men, women and children." ForeShore Adventure Run is offering a special race discount to MRG readers and listeners this year -- Heather shares this code during the episode.
Episode #31: The Pure Michigan FITness Series
Episode #29: Overcoming Mental Roadblocks in our Running
Running is as much mental as it is physical. We know this all too well through our training runs for big goal races, when we're actually out there running those races, and also during our everyday runs. It takes mental muscle to get out the door for our runs and push through the miles -- sometimes a lot of mental muscle, it seems -- and on today's show Heather talks with northern Michigan athlete, sports coach and mental health counselor Cassidy Fisher about the different mental roadblocks we may face and how to overcome these obstacles. Numerous MRG readers shared their own running-related mental hang-ups on the Michigan Runner Girl Facebook page, and Cassidy and Heather address several of these on this episode. (Thanks, everyone, for chiming in on this topic! It was a popular one.) The great news: we have the power to improve our mind-body connection. You'll learn different ways to build your mental muscle during this episode.
Ann Arbor-based race management company Epic Races is behind numerous events in Michigan, including Tri Goddess Tri, a beginner-friendly female triathlon held each June. Heather talks with triathlete Eva Solomon, founder of Epic Races, about this event (it'll be Heather's first swim-bike-run triathlon this summer!) as well as other upcoming races. Epic Races is behind the Goddess Race Series, a three-event series that includes Tri Goddess Tri on June 26 as well as the Ann Arbor Goddess 5K and Mile Run/Walk on May 8 Mother's Day and the American Home Fitness Detroit Goddess Half Marathon, 10K & 5K on Belle Isle on Sept. 18. Eva, who shares how she came to love triathlons as a mom of young children, also talks about a new cycling race coming up this spring, the Waterloo Grit & Gravel, 100K and 50K bike races and a 10-mile non-competitive bike ride, on March 19. Epic Races also is involved with the Ann Arbor Marathon, which takes place in April. A special race discount code is shared during the show, giving listeners 10% off race entries.Also in this episode: February races in Michigan to check out and an all-new show segment featuring Michigan runners sharing their favorite, go-to running places in our beautiful state.Link: epicraces.com
Your favorite running partner just might be your furry four-legged friend -- your dog. Heather, whose family recently welcomed a yellow Lab puppy to their family, and co-host Erin Henshaw, a fellow dog lover and runner who works at her husband's vet clinic in Traverse City, talk about the joys of taking their pets with them on runs. (Heather hasn't yet begun running with Ellie, their puppy, but has run many miles with their 7-year-old black Lab Max.) Eve Wrest, runner and owner of GR Dog Adventures, also joins the conversation. Eve, who lives and runs in Grand Rapids, started her company in 2013 to help dog owners keep their pooches happy and healthy. GR Dog Adventures provides dog walking, running and hiking. "I combined the things I love most -- running and dogs," says the mom of three. "I really wanted something that was a big part of the community. To me, that's the most fun part of the business -- getting to know the shelters and the rescues and the local businesses."
Another way to embrace the outdoors this winter: snowshoe running. Join Heather and co-host Cassy Stone as they talk about their love of running in the snow -- on snowshoes. They welcome guests Jeff Gaft, race director of the Bigfoot Snowshoe 10K & 5K race held later this month on the east side of Traverse City, and Jeb Stone, a northern Michigan runner who who is a 3-time winner of the Bigfoot race (and has the Sasquatch statues that are race prizes to prove it). These four runners (Jeb is Cassy's "better half," as he jokes on the show) talk about why they enjoy running on snowshoes, tips for getting started and finding the right pair of snowshoes. Jeb also shares a few racing tips for anyone looking to get out there and challenge themselves in a snowshoe race. Jeff, who is a manager at Running Fit in Traverse City, gives inside information about this year's event -- the Bigfoot takes place Saturday, Jan. 23 at Timber Ridge Resort -- as well as interesting details about how this race got started nearly 20 years ago. Be sure to listen through the end, when Heather offers up a special race discount code for a snowshoe race held in the U.P. In February. The Tahquamenon Snowshoe 10K & 5K, organized by Great Lakes Endurance, is among her favorite races and she hopes to head north to take part in it again this year. Finally, a listener informed Heather of another snowshoe running event this winter: a 3.5-mile or 7-mile snowshoe race part of the Meijer State Games festivities on Feb. 20 in Muskegon. The race takes place on some of the most challenging snowshoe terrain in the state, offering views of Lake Michigan and dunes.
If you're looking for a late spring/early summer race -- a race that places you on scenic trails in northern Michigan -- you'll want to tune into this episode featuring the North Mitten Half Marathon & 10K. This Memorial Day weekend race takes place on Sunday, May 29, 2016. The races are held each year at Crystal Mountain, a four-season resort in Thompsonville, Mich. Heather welcomes two guests to the show to talk about this race: Keli Elphinstone, a runner from Davison, Mich. who ran the North Mitten Half Marathon this past spring, and Race Director Janice Davidson. Keli, who started running about 6 years ago, shares why she signed up for the race in the first place (hint: the cool finisher's medal played a big role) and she also talks about the benefits of signing up for trail races like the North Mitten. Janice, who also serves as director of recreation at Crystal Mountain, gives the inside scoop on the 2016 event and shares her own running journey (she's signed on for a half marathon this spring and also has found a love of coaching young runners). Be sure to listen to the end of this episode to hear the two winners of the YakTrax giveaway!
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