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!”

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    Run-at-Destruction1 banner In November, I’ll be making a stop, each day, on my Virtual Book Tour for Run at Destruction – Would love to have you stop by and comment!                           …..Lynda Drews 

11/02/09 The Fantasy Pages                                     11/03/09 The Examiner

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11/27/09 Marta’s Meanderings                                    11/27/09 Crazy for Books

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Race Director Sean Ryan with Mac-Attack Jim Genrich and Poké-mom Lynda Drews

The foliage color was at its peak as I lined up in the small fishing village of Gills Rock to tackle the first leg of the Wisconsin Door County Fall Fifty that would finish in the shipbuilding community of Sturgeon Bay. The race director, Sean Ryan, approached me, giving me a warm hug, as the chilly wind whipped off of the waters of Green Bay, tousling my head-banded hair.  In this region, Sean’s name is synonymous with quality athletic events. I also hold a special place in my heart for him. Sean gave me my first blurb for my first book released in August, 2009: “Run At Destruction is written with the beat of a runner’s heart: steady intensity racing toward an inevitable finish. Drews is the John Grisham of the running world, pulling readers into a unique subculture where the drama unfolds.”

Well today I was surrounded by this unique subculture. There were the

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Poké-moms - Barb Kiser, Dianne Smith, Kathy Kapalin, Lynda Drews, Suzie Prue

 Victoria’s Secrets, dressed in bikini swimsuits over running attire, an Alice in Wonderland team, a group of Halloween Caped Crusaders, and of course my teammates, the Poké-moms. These four women would be jumping into our decorated van to drive along the picturesque shoreline until they reached the exchange point. Since 1977, I’ve been part of a close-knit running community. If some calamity befalls a member, only one call is needed and the group responds. Each asks how the other is doing, and honestly cares. My True Crime book revolves around one of these members, Pamela Bulik, who was my best friend and running companion. During the running boom of the 80’s, she mysteriously drowned in her bathtub. This led to a first-degree murder arrest and a sensational trial. As Dave McGillivray, the Race Director for the Boston Marathon says: “Run at Destruction captures the family-like culture of a running group, showing how its members support one another especially in times of crisis.” He’s so right!

Today’s excitement was invigorating. A beautiful voice pierced the cold crisp air. Gazing up at our American flag that flapped in the pearl-grey sky, we listened to the melodic National Anthem, hands over our hearts, hopping in place to keep our leg muscles warm. As the last notes hung in the air, the gun exploded. Collectively we took off. What an adventure! I’d never run a fifty-mile relay race before. Like my new career as an author – I figured there might be challenges at every twist and turn.

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Finish Line for Poké-moms (Dianne left for cancer benefit)

Even though our running group is extremely supportive – we are also competitive. Just like finding a mainstream publisher for my book, we were out to beat the odds. There was a team called Mac-Attack – a name chosen to honor Bruce MacNeil, a fellow-runner who had recently passed. This team, though, was also known as our significant others.

7 hours and 46 minutes later we achieved our goal, finishing nearly fifteen minutes ahead of them. The Poké-moms weren’t Poké anymore!

For many Midwest runners, with a summer of training behind them, fall is the optimum time for races. My book Run at Destruction focuses on a close-knit running community where some terrible tragedies occurred. So… even though I’ve been training for an up-coming half-marathon, this weekend, I went to two races, but not as a runner.

Berkeley Running Company owner - David Meixelsperger with Lynda Drews at Milwaukee Lakefront Marathon Expo

Berkeley Running Company owner - David Meixelsperger with Lynda Drews at Milwaukee Lakefront Marathon Expo

Back in August I had done a book talk at Berkeley Running Company in Madison where  the owner graciously offered to provide me a spot within his expo booth for the October Milwaukee Lakefront Marathon.

Milwaukee Lakefront logo

With a bit of envy, last Friday night, I talked to the marathon participants as they picked up their race packets and frequently purchased my book. Some had already read it and relayed how much they’d enjoyed it!    

wrut logoThen, on Saturday morning, I made my way over to Rib Mountain in Wausau Wisconsin for the Rotary Club Wrut ‘N Run.  It was a team effort to put up my banner. I had the local radio personalities and race personnel wiping the rain drizzle off the Ski Chalet’s window so my tape would hold. We were successful and so were the race

Rib Mountain Chalet Building protected my books from the drizzle

Rib Mountain Chalet Building protected my books from the drizzle

 participants that tackled the grueling course.  I talked to a woman runner that had traveled from Keshena, WI. She told me that the teachers at her school had already selected Run at Destruction for their book club.

It’s always amazing to me that people I’ve never had any connection with are reading my book!

Lynda Drews and Beezie MacNeil at Munising, MI Bruce MacNeil Memorial Run

Lynda Drews and Beezie MacNeil at Munising, MI Bruce MacNeil Memorial Run

Before publishing my first book – Run at Destruction: A True Fatal Love Triangle, my best friend Beezie (who’s a character in the book) said, “Lynda, you should include a Reading Group Guide.”

That, in itself, was not a novel idea, but it was, within my genre of True Crime and also Sports/Running!  So… I contacted my publisher, Tracy Ertl, from TitleTown and we agreed to take Beezie’s advice – fourteen questions were included.  

Since my book’s release on August 7, 2009, I’ve participated in five book club discussions and have twelve more scheduled. My book revolves around our close-knit Green Bay Running family and the tragic and mysterious death of my best friend Pam. Participating in each of these book clubs, I see the same kind of bond that I’ve experienced with my women running friends. Many of the book clubs have met for decades and have suffered their own tragic losses among their members. 

Yesterday’s talk was a good example. I met with the Belles, Books, and Candor Book Club in Oshkosh, WI. There were about fifteen members present, but others were missed who had passed away.

Subset of Belles, Books, and Candor Book Club

Subset of Belles, Books, and Candor Book Club

 What’s great about book clubs is that their members’ ages span many generations.

The first thing that Laurie, the moderator did, was to do a verdict poll, as if the Belles were on my book’s  jury panel. Very interesting… from the outset, the jury would’ve been hung! I’m told, that’s what makes my book so fascinating – the scenario leading to Pam’s death is still not crystal clear.  

Discussion continued, focusing on the complex crime as members reviewed the evidence, debating why Pam’s death was either a terrible accident, suicide, negligent homicide, or pre-meditated murder. Additional topics flowed: dependency issues, infidelity issues, media influence, and the judicial  system.  One member had even received therapy from Dr. Ralph Baker, the psychiatrist that had been the expert witness for the Defense back in 1984! 

At the meeting’s end, I signed each member’s book, while remarking how honored I’d felt to be included in their welcoming sisterhood. What a wonderful experience… meeting new women that, through my written word, had grown to know and care about me, and more importantly, Pam.  

The caring faces behind the sterile purchase statistics from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, etc. are gradually being filled in…

Jim and Lynda Drews at 1971 La Crosse X-Country Meet

Jim and Lynda Drews at 1971 La Crosse X-Country Meet

Ever since 1974, my husband, Jim, and I have returned to La Crosse Wisconsin – God’s Country – to celebrate his X-Country Alumni Labor Day weekend. From my book Run at Destruction: A True Fatal Love Triangle, you may know that the two of us met in kindergarten in Waukesha, but we fell in love in La Crosse. Back in 1970, Jim was a new freshman and Coach Phil Esten joined the team as the new coach. From that point on a winning tradition began and continues today under Coach Don Fritsch.

Part of that tradition has been to honor the alumni by sponsoring this annual weekend. There’s a Friday dinner at Piggy’s, beer at Howies, the Saturday morning race (if you want to call it that for some of the “elderly alumni”), a picnic with a barrel of

1970 X-Country Team - Jim is 2nd from left, Coach Esten is far right

1970 X-Country Team - Jim is 2nd from left, Coach Esten is far right

 beer at Myrick Park, free beer afterward at Eagles Nest, pizza/beer at Big Al’s, and lastly a stop at Dell’s and John’s for you guessed it – more beer. You can see there’s a common thread. When Jim and I came to La Crosse in the early 70’s, the drinking age for beer bars was 18 – so we got an early indoctrination! 

This year in addition to the traditional festivities Coach Don Fritsch e-mailed the Alumni about my book, mentioning that it had been reviewed in Silent Sports and by Runner Dude. They could either bring the ones they’d purchased in advance on Amazon or at B&N for me to sign or, “I’m sure, Lynda, will gladly sell/sign a copy  for those interested.”

On Friday morning, on our way into La Crosse, Jim first dropped me off

2009 La Crosse Alumni Picnic

2009 La Crosse Alumni Picnic

 at the local B&N. For three hours I signed every copy they had in stock. Then at Saturday’s picnic, I went through another half-case of books.   

Both the “old guys” and the “new guys” supported me. Of course they were egged on by “My Love”, La Crosse’s first Cross-Country All-American,  to purchase my “Labor of Love.”

Top right - Pamela Metzger Bulik - twirler for Lincoln Highschool band

Top right - Pamela Metzger Bulik - twirler for Lincoln High School band

 Since my true crime and sports/running book Run at Destruction: A True Fatal Love Triangle  was released on August 7th, I’ve been getting daily e-mails from those that have read it. Quite often they want to share their personal connection.  One of those was Margaret, a classmate of my best running friend Pamela Metzger Bulik. Margaret had purchased the book at her local Book World in Wisconsin Rapids and afterward mailed me these yearbook photos of Pam. Like othersPam Senior Picture, Margaret said she couldn’t put my book down, even though it was difficult to read, knowing how much pain Pam had experienced. Back in high-school she’d been so joyful, full of fun – a twirler in the band. Pam’s senior class picture’s flip hairstyle was certainly the craze!
Another photo certainly caught my eye! 
Classmates: Top left - Kathy Wachter Appel , Bottom right - Pam Metzger Bulik

Classmates: Top left - Kathy Wachter Appel , Bottom right - Pam Metzger Bulik

    
In 1984, William (Bill)  Appel defended Pam’s husband, Bob Bulik, in his first-degree murder trial. I knew Bill was from Wisconsin Rapids, but now discovered – so was his wife, pictured with Pam!  Kathy Appel also taught with Bob’s girlfriend – the third corner of the love triangle. 
As Runner Dude said: “Oh what a tangled web we weave.”