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!

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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.”

MacNeil Family in 1984 sitting on Scout

MacNeil Family in 1984 sitting on Scout

Bruce MacNeil – the founder of our Green Bay/Ashwaubenon Fun Runs passed away in Nov. of 2008.  He and his wife Beezie are major characters in my book Run at Destruction that takes place during the running boom of the 1980s. Bruce had fashioned these runs after a 1970’s Runner’s World article.  

 On July 1, 2009, it was fitting that Bruce’s whole family returned to the park where we continue to hold our weekly Fun Runs, to help dedicate a park bench in Bruce’s honor. 

MacNeil Family sitting on Bruce's Bench in Klipstine Park on July 1, 2009

MacNeil Family sitting on Bruce's Bench in Klipstine Park on July 1, 2009

There was a huge crowd that attended. Something that Bruce certainly would’ve loved, especially since we followed up the dedication with a run or a walk. Then of course there was our cookout. Chef Bruce was only missing in body, but not in memory as the entire group stayed late… remembering and celebrating his life!

Our Running Group is such a close-knit family. What’s wonderful is that it’s  something that’s been instilled in our children, who are now passing it down to the next generation. 

Isn’t that the best tribute after all?

Dedication Plaque

My first book talk for Run At Destruction is on the horizon – Wednesday, April 29th at 6 p.m. at the Edgerton, Wisconsin Library. What’s special is that it was arranged by the RunLikeAGirl running club (runlikeagirl.net), but is open to the community.  I certainly feel a kinship to other women runners.

Green Bay Women Runners - I'm in first row on the left.

Green Bay Women - I'm in first row on the left.

This picture was taken in 1984, just weeks after my best friend, Pamela Bulik, died. (My book focuses on the bizzare circumstances surrounding it.) Each year, the Green Bay gals took a weekend trip to one of the Bonne Bell Races. Normally it had been in Pam’s van. When I went to register at this one, held on Milwaukee’s Lakefront, it was eerie to discover that Pam already had…  Now, more than two decades later, it’s great to see that the continued growth in running is coming from the female population. 

We rule!