February 2010 – Jimmy the Groundhog from Sun Prairie, Wisconsin predicted only 6 more weeks of winter. Guess we still had to have at least one more blizzard in Green Bay. It hit on 2/09 – the day before my Run at Destruction True Crime/Memoir Book talk to the Learning and Retirement Group (LIR). We are a hardy community and even with our advancing ages… it appeared that everyone was shoveled out. At the Neville Museum, I talked to a packed house of about 130.

Two days later my sights were set on another LIR talk – this time at UW-La Crosse where I’d been the commencement speaker back in 2007. It was appropriate that I’d told the graduates to “journal your life” and that’s what I had now done. 

Of course we all have memories of the school we graduated from – whether high school or college. One of mine was getting hot doughnuts at Mr. D’s with my boyfriend (now husband – Jim) after bar time.  Well… the original shop has closed but a new establishment on the same corner is still selling their doughnut recipe. Valentine’s Day was approaching. Nostalgic  Mr. D’s doughnuts would be the perfect gift for my sweetheart!

I made a sharp turn into the coffee shop’s parking lot, dashed in, purchased a dozen doughnuts, climbed back in my vehicle, while chewing on one, and put my key into the ignition. It wouldn’t turn… my steering wheel was locked! Ah, oh! I had fifteen minutes to my talk and nothing I was doing was working.

Lucky I’m still a runner. I grabbed my computer case, and with temperatures close to zero, jogged the six blocks to the Cartwright Center on the UW-L Campus. I got there in the nick of time, but when I opened my laptop, my heart sunk… my computer wouldn’t come up. (Guess it doesn’t like to jog!) Finally with a number of reboots, I got it working in Safe Mode. Whew… 

The group was great and very interactive… one told me that she had a sister in Green Bay. She called her during the break and discovered that she’d been at that LIR  just two days before. Both sisters ended up buying signed books!

Tomorrow I’m heading to Madison for a Booked for Murder Bookstore talk – more travels, talks and hopefully, not too many more tribulations!

Advertisements
MomsinMotion

Wisconsin author and long-time runner, Lynda Drews, meets Moms-in-Motion Founder & CEO, Jamie Allison

Back in May, I did a Run at Destruction book talk to a women’s running club that I learned was part of a larger organization called Moms In Motion. In 1999 when Jaime Allison and a  group of other moms started to train together to complete a Santa Barbara, CA triathlon she came up with the idea. Jaime has since transformed this small group into Moms In Motion, a Global Network Connecting Moms through Fitness. (7232 members, in 49 states, in 7 countries.)

Soon after my talk I contacted Jaime. She said she loved to read, so I sent her a copy of my book. By chance my San Francisco Nike Women’s Half Marathon entry had been selected in the random drawing. In October I was heading to California and decided to combine the race weekend with a mini book tour and also meet Jamie. 

I landed in San Francisco on Oct. 14th and for the next three days stayed with friends (both old Fun Run and highschool)  who accompanied me to talks and book signings. (One was to the Empire Running Club.) Then on Sunday I met Sandy and Per Johnsen for dinner, two of the characters in Run at Destruction that have since moved to Seattle.  

The next morning, I gathered with more than 20,000 women in the dark near Union Square. The uphills were very challenging. I even admit that I walked a bit, but I flew running down the other side!  At the finish line I completely forgot to check my time. Could it be that my eyes instead were glued to the buff fireman dressed in a tux who handed me my Tiffany finisher’s necklace?  Unbeknownst to me, I later realized that my Nike Half Marathon number had mistakenly been switched with a friend! Sure, sure… you don’t have to believe me, but I actually ran 30 minutes faster than my official race results! 

After a Bart ride, where I’d embarassingly had to beg money from a stranger, since I was short a dollar, I quickly showered at my friend’s, jumped into my rental car, and headed south to Pebble Beach. For two days I relaxed with another highschool friend before traveling to Santa Barbara. With my GPS I easily located The Boat House on Hendry’s Beach and on the outside eating deck a slim woman was standing with a copy of Run at Destruction in her hands.  I smiled and waved… it had to be Jaime!  The two of us chattered away for a couple of hours, discussing our common interests: running, reading, family, and knitting. And… of course we discussed my book.

I appreciate the comments that Jaime provided to her network of ‘Moms’ following our meeting. She said, “It was such a pleasure to meet and spend time with author, Lynda Drews, last month during her book tour in CA. I’ve never had the experience of reading a book and then having the luxury of discussing it one-on-one! Lucky me! Thank you Lynda. Her new true fatal love triangle book is called Run at Destruction and is soaring on Amazon.com charts. The running community that her story takes place within, is much like ours in that they became like extended family to one another. Unfortunately, when her best friend Pam is ‘murdered’ you can’t help but rally the detective spirit within and try to come to terms with the outcome. It is a story you won’t forget!”

Another talk and book signing for Run at Destruction this week!

I got a warm welcome from the PaceSetters. This running club has been in

Kathy Jankowski, the PaceSetters President with Me

Kathy Jankowski, the PaceSetters President with Me

existence for 25 years – both promoting and celebrating health in the Fox Valley of Wisconsin. 

As I explained how I got endorsements from the Best Selling True Crime Author, Ann Rule, and from Sean Hartnett, a correspondent for Track  & Field News the supportive running folks gave me applause. Then as I read excerpts from the first chapter about my best friend, Pam, that continues to bring a sting to my eyes, I watched the audience’s amazing response – they  became mesmerized.

P1020073To detail the extensive research that I conducted – required to tell the right story- I provided an anecdote: In the Brown County Courthouse, for four months, I scanned three massive boxes of court records into my laptop, plugging parking meters every two hours. While doing this tedious job, I listened to books on tape. One day, by mistake, the earphones became unplugged, so I kept turning up the tape player’s volume…. Someone finally tapped me on the shoulder and informed me that the entire office was listening to a suggestive sex scene. Boy – was I embarrassed!

Following my talk – I took extensive Q&A before signing and selling books to nearly everyone that attended.  I’ve always known that runners are special – this talk certainly reconfirmed it!

2009 Bellin BoothWhat a whirlwind the last few days have been at the Bellin Run promoting Run at Destruction!   Talk – Book Signings – Run – Books Signing – Party!

At the 33rd Bellin Run – I was awed to share the  pre-race stage with Marathon Olympians Joan Benoit Samuelson and Bill Rodgers. Kelly McBride from the Green Bay Press-Gazette also ran an article about me. Because I’d done research for my book, Run at Destruction, a true murder mystery about my best friend’s death, set in Green Bay during the 1980’s running boom, I’d become a bit of a historian about the sport’s beginnings in our community.  In addition to reading excerpts from my book – I shared how our running movement was launched.

In 1976, George Kerwin, now Bellin Health’s President and CEO, attended the Quiet Company 10K in Milwaukee where Frank Shorter, the Olympic Gold and Silver Medallist ran. Following that race George contacted my husband, Jim Drews (an all-American cross country & track runner), Dick Lytie (our local running guru), and Ron Dauplaise (former East High Track Coach & father of fellow author, Mike Dauplaise.) The four of them met at Dick’s house, sitting around his kitchen table, discussing how Bellin might approach this kind of run in Green Bay. Then in June of 1977, the first Bellin Run was held, attracting around 700 runners. A big turnout at that time! (This year’s had more than 15,000.) I looked back at that first year’s participant list and within the top 40 runners, 20 were personal friends of Jim’s and mine from college. Sure they thought the race sounded interesting, but honestly most of these guys, that were in their mid-twenties, also liked the idea that Jim and I were hosting the post run party in

1986 Bellin - Joan Benoit Samuelson at my house

1986 Bellin - Joan Benoit Samuelson at my house

 conjunction with Bellin – and it included free beer.

My husband had been used to winning races, but because Frank Shorter had agreed to come, Jim placed second, running a 30:41, ten seconds behind Shorter. In later years, I remember George Kerwin escorting the elite runners over to our home. I told the audience that both Bill Rodgers and Joan Benoit Samuelson actually sat on my couch eating potluck food, compliments of our Fun Run Group.  

So… after my talk – Joan and Bill took the stage. Joan told a story about how she kept special “treasures” in a tackle box in her bedroom. One of these was her 1984 Olympic Marathon ring. A friend called her and said that he’d seen it for sale on e-bay. Sure enough, she checked and it was indeed missing!  Luckily she got it back, but she turned to me and said, “Lynda, maybe that can be the next mystery you write about!”   In turn, Bill Rodgers talked about his previous Bellin Runs. He’d brought his first place plaque that he’d won in 1978 to donate back to Bellin. But instead, he decided to sign it over to my husband. At the second annual Bellin, Jim had once again placed second – running a 29:56 – this time 19 seconds behind Rodgers. 

Finally Jim has a first place Bellin plaque!    

What a weekend!  I hadn’t run a half marathon in years, but when Sean Ryan, the race director for the Cellcom Green Bay Marathon offered to promote my book, Run at Destruction, in their training newsletter and also asked me to speak at the sponsors luncheon, I thought… I better run!    cellcom marathon logo

Even though Green Bay has more than 100,000 residents, it’s a small town. At the luncheon one of the former detectives from my book, who is now the Brown County Executive was there. Also, a physician that testified at the trial (one of the most heavily attended in Green Bay’s history)  was present. He told me that his wife’s book club was scheduled to read Run at Destruction when it is released on August 7th.   What each of us shared was having been a runner during Green Bay’s running boom in the 80’s.

On Saturday I picked up my race packet inside the Lambeau Atrium and met with Andrew Delzer, the president of the Badgerland Striders Running Club. It’s the largest in Wisconsin, serving Milwaukee and the surrounding area with over 1800 members.   He agreed to have me speak to his club about my book in the fall, if I teased the subject. I assured him it definitely wouldn’t be the normal chiropractor talk!

Then Sunday arrived… the weather was perfect. Sunshine, minimal wind and the temperature in the 40’s. My husband, Jim, and I rode over to the race with Daryl and Kathy Kapalin (a couple that are in my book). After getting in the bathroom line, I squeezed into the throng of excited runners.  I was inspired by the rendition of the Star Spangled Banner while turning to face our flag flying over Lambeau Field. Then we took off. cellcomcupsThe course was flat, the fans were supportive, and I only got toe cramps in the last mile, but forgot about them as I circled inside Lambeau Field before finishing in the parking lot with a time of 2:06:14. I’d been aiming for 10 minute miles so was elated to  run 9:38’s instead – placing 5th in my age division. Kathy ran 2:00:08 and won hers!   My accolades to Sean Ryan and Cellcom for a wonderful race weekend!