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.
#231: Navigating life transitions
In this latest episode featuring Heather and her 21-year-old daughter, Emma, life transitions — facing them, going through them, learning from them — is the focus. And if there’s ever been a time when life changes take center stage, it’s these past couple of years as we’ve all endured so much, personally and professionally, as a result of the pandemic.
Emma shares big news at the start of this episode, and how where she’s at now and what’s ahead is the culmination of a lot of hard work, dedication … and, yes, stress and self-reflection. She shares how she traversed this time of her life and the things she’s learned about herself.
Emma asks some interesting and personal questions of her mom, and Heather responds with stories that touch on becoming a mom, the role of creativity and work along this journey of raising three kids, and the generational differences Emma and Heather are observing as Emma enters her early 20s and begins thinking about her future plans.
They wrap up the show by sharing a letter from a listener, and encourage the comments and feedback to keep on coming. What life transition are you experiencing right now? How are you navigating the ups and downs of this time? How does running and movement help you? We’d love to hear from you. Email your thoughts, or record a voice memo, and send to firstname.lastname@example.org
#230: A Transformative Trip: Paige Lackey shares her Project Rustic experience
“At first it was hard because I felt like I was in this snowglobe that had been shaken up. And all of a sudden I had space, and then all the snowflakes were falling around me, and I was like, there’s that thing I ignored for six months, and there’s that thing I don’t want to think about because it stresses me out. But the more I was out there, the more the snowflakes, the glitter, settled and the better I felt. And that, I think, is just a testament to how important it is to make space in this life to think about things, or to process things, to just breathe. Because we don’t get it naturally in our lives. You have to be very intentional about that.”
Paige Lackey returns to the MRG show to talk about her 5-month-long adventure exploring Michigan’s state forest campgrounds — this solo trip took Paige (and her dog Willow) to more than 75 Michigan Department of Natural Resources locations in both the lower and upper peninsulas between April and September. Project Rustic, as it was named, was an effort to collect information for the state’s Recreation Search database.
Paige previously was a guest on the show (episode #213) just before leaving on this trip. During that conversation, she talked about coming up with this idea as a Huron Pines AmeriCorps service member serving with the Michigan DNR, and how it all came to fruition. In this most recent episode, Paige is honest about what it truly was like to travel alone with Willow in an RV, the places she got to see and know, the people she met along the way, the highlights and challenges, and how the experience changed her. Her quote of the summer, she shares during her conversation with Heather: “What will be, will be transformative.”
#229: Running + racing Mackinac Island
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.
LIVE from Mackinac Island: Reimagining a Healthy Michigan
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
Accelerating the state’s COVID-19 economic recovery and sustainability. Advancing racial justice and equity for all. 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.
#227: A deeper, more personal conversation with Heather and Emma
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 email@example.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
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
#226: Inside IRONMAN 70.3 Michigan in Frankfort
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
I love MRG podcast!
Loved the interview with Joel Gaff. Always fun to learn the behind the scenes stuff going on with local people and businesses.
Thanks for keeping my mind occupied as I listened on the run! 🏃♀️😀
Love Heather’s conversations and content
I’ve been listening to Michigan Runner Girl podcast for over a year and look forward to every new episode!! I love hearing from elite Michigan Runners like Des Linden or from everyday runners and triathletes sharing their inspiring journeys. Heather is a wonderful host. 10/10 would recommend!
Thank you for a wonderful podcast. I became a runner after listening to Heather. She has such a positive attitude and it is very contagious. I love the guests that she has on her show and she always is a good interviewer, getting the most out of each guest. I look forward to her podcast every week.