New York City Marathon Wrap-Up!

The anticipation of waiting 9 months for a single race, at times can be overwhelming.  I signed up for the lottery drawing sometime in January for a race that is held in November.  The odds were heavily against me getting in, but I thought…what the hell!

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I’d sworn off doing another marathon after getting into the Big Sur last year.  The distance is tough and the training is time-consuming.  Not to mention, I’m getting older and things just love to break…lol!  I’d had to go to my favorite foot doctor (Dr. Gregory Black) in the previous year and was telling him about the Big Sur Marathon.  He then told me, “if you want to make a marathon your last…make it New York City”.  He went on to tell me all about the race and that it was bucket list run for him.  When I’d left his office, it seemed to stick in my head…I really should do that race.  Thanks for that Dr. Black!

So, after the craziness of going through the sign up procedure, handing over my credit card number first, the waiting game began.  The lottery system is done in a single day and they tell you that the way you usually find out first, your credit card is charged the almost $300.00 entry fee. (ouch!) I was working afternoon shift on the day of the drawing.  I kept checking emails and my credit card account through out the day.  Just before I left for work, I got a hit on my credit card for the entry fee!  I was pretty sure at that time that I was really getting in.  I started seeing social media light up with people who had received emails and was stressing because I hadn’t received an email.  Deep into my shift…around 10:20 p.m., I received “the email”!  I read it through several times and it really didn’t sink in at first.  Then the rush of emotions hit…I announced to my co-workers that I’d been selected to participate in the New York City Marathon!  I’m a crybaby….so, I may have been in tears…lol!  The people at work were super excited and very supportive.  They knew how much I wanted to get into this race.  Now, the date was set and it was official.

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The year of races and training went well and I really had no stresses about going to the marathon.  Then, one of the races I’d planned to do a month prior, my first Ultra Marathon came up.  The Hennepin 50K.  I blogged about this race in a prior entry.  The race was amazing, the people were so cool and I was with family.  The race went well, we all felt great and finished!  It wasn’t until I returned home that I noticed my hip didn’t want to settle back in.  I had a limp and was sore.  I headed for my super Doc (Dr. Odeh—at Genoa Medical).  I gave him the run down on what was happening and that I was less than a month away from the New York City Marathon.  Once I explained how hard it was to get into this race, I then said…”Doc, you have to get me through this race”!  He gave me a shot in the hip and told me to take the next few weeks off entirely from running.  Talk about stressful words…stop running?  How would I ever finish a marathon if I didn’t keep training.

The day drew closer to leaving for New York and the body was easing on the pain front.  I would just have to rest and believe that all the training I’d done during the summer and my ultra would be enough to see me through the race.  While the hip felt better, the demons of doubt were hanging around in the back of my mind.  Would this be my first DNF?!  No, Not the New York City Marathon…I wouldn’t let it happen!  There was too much riding on this one.

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I’ve shared all about my sister Gini and her fight for life.  She received the gift of life in September and received new lungs.  She’d been fighting ever since the operation to stay alive and the stress on the entire family was mounting.  I wanted to make New York about Gini.  This race was dedicated to honor my sister who has been a care giver for her entire life.  I can think of no one more deserving in this world than her.  The pain I was going through and would be going through to finish this race was nothing compared to what she’d felt for so many years.  The pain she was feeling trying to breathe again and survive.  Yes…New York was Gini’s race!  I’d finish if I had to crawl across the finish line!

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The big day arrived in New York.  The city was just a buzz with excitement and you could just feel it in the air.  I woke up completely free of stress, none of the usual nerves were going.  The calm was almost surreal.  I prepared my gear, said a prayer, kissed my wife and left for my bus ride to the runner’s village near the starting line.

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The day could not have been more perfect!  Cool temperatures, no wind, low humidity and perfect cloud free blue skies!  The bus ride to the starting area was wonderful.  Getting to see the city in all it’s glory…it just shined that morning!  I get it now, why so many seek out New York as their home.  It took my breath away.  I arrived at the runner’s village, found my area to wait and found a piece of ground to call my own for the next couple hours.  I enjoyed a bagel and some other pre-race snacks and listened for my corral to be called to line up.  When the moment came…I was ready!

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While waiting in the corral with a portion of the almost 54,000 runners that had showed up, I just took the time to take everything in.  I was really here and this was the day!  I’m not sure if she could hear me, but I was talking to my sister while waiting for the cannon to fire.  Telling her that it was time…time to make a turn for the better, time to reach out and grab life!

This race is everything that I’d ever heard and then some!  I was greeted at every single turn by thousands of screaming people who were just happy to see you and cheer you on to success.  The city wanted you to make it…they wanted you to finish this race, and you could feel it.  The love that I felt on this day, at this race can never be matched.  In all of my years of running, I’ve never felt anything so wonderful.  There were neighborhoods that were having block parties, people sitting on roof tops, hanging out of windows, lining every single street.  They were all there to greet you and welcome you to the greatest race in the world!

The miles went by quickly and my lovely wife was seeking me out at several different locations on the course.  We first met up at mile 7.  Just seeing one another brought tears to our eyes.  The emotions from the race, the love from the city, the thoughts of my sister and seeing the woman I love just brought everything to a head.  I ran up to her and we hugged and gave a quick kiss.  My good friend Jolene Siana (who lives in New York) was standing by, taking pictures and video of our meeting at mile 7.  Thank you Jolene for being so amazing to both of us!

Karla was hoping to catch me a couple more times, but getting around the city with the race going can be tough.  She caught me at about mile 22…asked me how I was doing.  I gave her the standard answer…”everything hurts, but I’m good”.  She knows me well and knew at that time that I wouldn’t let anything stop me from getting to the finish.  The next miles were just beautiful!  I was in the area of Central park, it seemed as though there were even more people lining the streets now.  Screaming, cheering fans of all of us runners were just everywhere!  I stopped a couple of times to just really take it all in.  The beauty of the moment.  I wanted to remember this until my last day.  I was just about to the finish when I came upon a lady who was suffering greatly with cramps.  Her steps were small and you could see the pain she was in.  I stopped and offered to help her in…at the very least be emotional assistance.  This was when I got to see the strength and drive of a runner.  She said “I’ll make it, I’m going to finish, now you go…go on and run”! She kissed her hand and tapped me on the shoulder with it…wow…just wow!  I crossed the finish line…it was everything I knew it would be…and yes, I checked on the lady I met…she finished as well!  I pulled my phone out and took a picture of the medal resting on my chest.  The first person I sent it to was my brother-in-law Jeff Feller.  I said “This is coming home for Gini”.  When I arrived back in town, we went up to see Gini at the Cleveland Clinic, where I was able to present the finishing medal to her.  To see her eyes full of life and the smile on her face, well, it touched my soul.

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If you ask me today would I run it again, I’ll tell  you No.  I could never script a more perfect day!  I’ve been spoiled by this beautiful day, perfect weather and a wonderful cast of runners.  This was not only a bucket list run…it was a run of a lifetime!

Thank you to all the many people who followed me during this race.  To my co-workers for being so loving and supportive.  To my wife for going many miles around New York just to see me for moments. To my friend Jolene for making us feel how wonderful her city can be, and to all of you people that continue to follow me through my running and life adventures.  I’m grateful for every step I’m able to take and enjoy sharing them with all of you.

I’ll see you on the road!

~Zombie~

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The Hennepin 50K Wrap Up!

My cousin Marilyn Matevia and I started chatting last year about Ultra Marathons.  She shared with me at that time that she secretly had always wanted to finish one.  It was a bucket list run/walk that she felt the need to tackle.  I personally never really gave too much thought to doing an Ultra, but I told her if it was her desire to do it, I’d be all in!

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Due to a crunchy knee from years of running and injuries, Marilyn was planning to do the Ultra as a full walk.  Now, if by chance you’re thinking…what’s the big deal…it’s only walking. (yes, people do say silly shit like that) Take into consideration that this is a 31+ mile walk, done at night and you’ll be on your feet for some 12 hours, fighting your body and anything that mother nature has to throw at you.  That’s some walk…huh?!

My plan was simple…cross the finish line in the upright position! LOL!!  We had almost an entire year to devote to the training and made the decision to sign up.  I broke the news to my wife and my sister Patti.  They both jumped on board with no hesitation.  (Well, maybe a little bit) Marilyn’s plan to walk meant some extra company was in order for her.  A couple of  good friends of hers Tammy Galloway and Pamela Galloway-Anderson decided to join in and walk the Ultra as well.  We were ready!

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As you would expect, life got crazy between the conception of doing the Ultra and reaching the starting line.  We chose a great race in Illinois called the Hennepin 100.  The race consisted of a 50K (31 miles), 50 miler and 100 miler.  The 50K was also started at night…or rather late afternoon that quickly went dark…lol!  Finding time to train got tough for everyone.  Long work hours, long commutes (for Marilyn) and family struggles.

My sister Gini Feller has been fighting RA Rheumatoid Arthritis for many years.  This brought about problems with her lungs and she had been getting sicker as the year went on.  It became bad enough that she was added to the Lung Transplant list with Cleveland Clinic and with each check-up, moved further up the list.  It turned out that Gini got “the call”…just a short time before the Ultra race.  She was to get to the clinic because they had lungs donated that were a match!

There were tense moments through the surgery and daily ups/downs.  Once we were given the o.k. to travel…that she was stable, we loaded up our gear, pictures of Gini and decided to make our adventure about her.  This run was for Gini!  There was no amount of struggles or pain that we could encounter that my sister wasn’t already going through to live.  This was a driving force for all of us.

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Race day was a mostly cloudy, kind of cool day in Illinois.  We ventured on our bus ride towards the starting line  with all our gear checked and ready.  Once the horn went off, we found ourselves on a crazy trail of grass, stone, old asphalt, you name it, we were running on it!  We had a canal on our left for most of the run and trees a plenty.  Once darkness set in, it was really dark!  We all turned on our headlamps and an extra flashlight to spot any tripping hazards, and just ran.  The aid stations came up about every 5-6 miles.  I found that Pringles and ginger-ale were my new best friends during this long run…lol!  We decided to just count the aid stations and keep a nice pace.

We ran some 15+ miles and then switched over to a run/walk combination to finish.  Running a mile and walking a mile became the standard for quite a while and worked rather well for all of us.  This switched to all walking after about marathon distance.  We were still clicking off a 14:40 minute mile pace with walking and were getting anxious for the finish line.  The rain began to come down on the last couple miles.  The last 1/4 mile or so we decided to run it in and finish strong.  The feeling of crossing that finish line with the official mileage of 31.87 miles was a shot of adrenaline!  I felt tired yet electric!  I high-fived my wife and sister, gave hugs and said “this one was for Gini”.  She kept us strong the entire way and it was my honor to carry her the distance.

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My cousin Marilyn was still on the course but had sent a text saying she was staying strong and moving through the 20 mile area.  Her group completed the challenge in a touch over 12 hours.  When she returned to our hotel, I gave her a hug and said “You’re an Ultra Marathoner”!  The dream became a reality!  Many fun discussions were had over this weekend and dreams were realized.  Hearts were filled with anxious moments for our sister fighting and deep love for family.  I always try to get people to go out and move and to challenge themselves.  I absolutely hate hearing “I can’t do that”.  Something that I was gifted with from my father.  He wouldn’t hear those words and wouldn’t allow you to be a quitter.  No one quit…including Gini!  She’s fighting hard with her new lungs and has overcome some serious challenges as of this writing.  We all love her and will continue to support her journey.

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I was asked by a good friend after the race.  Dan Woods, founder of the RunJunkees online running group.  “Are you coming back to do the 50 miler”?  I smiled and said…”I just might have to do that”!  Never say Never!  Every challenge brings new life.  Isn’t that what life is really all about?  Think about it…

I’ll see you on the road!

~Zombie~

This one is for Gini…

My fellow Zombies,

On Monday, September 24, 2018…my sister Gini Feller received a call from the Cleveland Clinic that a healthy set of lungs had been graciously donated and she needed to get to the clinic immediately to receive this gift.

Let me tell you something about my sister Gini.  She’s a lifelong caregiver, she’s worked as an RN for almost 30 years now.  Her mission from childhood was always to look out for others, to assist in their recovery and to make sure there was a tender, caring person by their side, regardless of their illness.  Gini is a one in a million kind of person.  She gives selflessly.  Her bedside manner is one that all people should experience in their time of need.  Even as her own illnesses consumed her body, she went to work every day!   38949085_10212542899109449_7903163128026759168_o

I’m sharing this story now because Gini is in need of our help.  The transplant surgery went well, she’s currently in stable condition and working through the daily process of getting healthy again after such an unbelievable surgery.  You can imagine the cost of such a surgery, as well as the expense for my brother-in-law to be in Cleveland and for the loss of work for both.  A GoFundMe campaign has been started by my sister’s best friend in the world (Teresa Swanson).  I’m asking for any amount of donation that you can afford.  This fund will go directly to Gini, to assist in the cost of her recovery.

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This weekend is a scheduled Ultra Marathon for my cousin Marilyn, my sister Patti, my wife Karla and myself.  It will be our first Ultra ever and it will be done with pictures of Gini on our race gear.  The initial idea was to use this race to raise awareness of Rheumatoid arthritis…something Gini has suffered with for years.  Now, it’s become a run for hope…for the recovery of my sister.  I will carry my sister in her time of need, each and every mile.

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Please join me in this adventure that will start on Saturday, October 6, 2018.  Follow my Run Zombie Run Facebook page for updates on the race and my sister.  Help me make this weekend all about Gini Feller!  I’d love to just blow the roof off of the set goal for the GoFundMe Campaign.  I want my sister to know that she’s made such an impact in this world that we all want her to continue.  So please…click on the page and make a difference:  https://www.gofundme.com/gini-feller-medical-expenses

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Thanks as always for following me.  Thank you in advance for thinking of my sister Gini Feller!

I’ll see you on the road

~Zombie~

 

This one’s all about the NYC Marathon!

Let me start this blog out with the email that I received on 2/28/18 at around 10:20 p.m.

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Congratulations, Robert!

You are officially in the 2018 TCS New York City Marathon this November. This is the world’s biggest marathon—a life-changing race that draws runners from all over the planet. It will test you, challenge you, and above all move you. All of us at New York Road Runners are thrilled to have you with us!

Be on the lookout for regular newsletters to help guide you on your marathon journey. In the meantime, learn about how to book your trip to NYC, pick a training program, and ensure you have an incredible race week experience.

Learn More 
#MovedMe

#TCSNYCMarathon

I’m not going to lie…this brought tears to my eyes.  I entered with absolutely no expectations of ever getting in.  I’ve read the stats over the past years and know that the number of runners that get into this race via “Lottery” system is very small.  I’ll give you a rough run on some of those numbers.  For 2018, over 105,000 people applied to take part in the Lottery to run the NYC Marathon.  The number of open spots would be just over 15,000, and out of that you have to account for people being allowed in from International, the state of New York itself and then the remaining 49 states.  They stated in the Runner’s World article that it would be easier to get accepted into the University of Notre Dame! #GoIrish

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When 2/28/18 rolled around and these 105,000 runners became glued to their computers and smart phones for some idea of their fate for the marathon, I become one of the ever hopeful.  #Nevergiveup is a hashtag I use often when posting.  I’ve been told numerous times by my wife and family members to “take chances” and believe that “things happen for a reason”.  Well, I took the chance and the running Gods shined down on me that day.  Me, a very average runner that just won’t quit.  I’ve been given the opportunity to stand at the starting line with some of the planet’s greatest athletes!  I will make NW Ohio proud!  I will run for my sister who’s fighting rheumatoid arthritis, I’ll run for my parents that have passed on, but never forgotten and I will cross that finish line!

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It’s funny how life throws different things your way…both good and bad.  I struggled with illness most of January this year.  This of course has left me behind on training and out of shape.  I’m back at it and hopeful to keep all the moving parts moving.  I’ve signed up for the Black Swamp 15K race that’ll be this month.  I’m shying away from some of the other races until the Glass City Half Marathon.  That’ll be a training run for our 21-miler out in California just one week after. (Big Sur!) I’m hoping to relax on the West coast and recharge batteries.  The course is absolutely stunning and the atmosphere is stellar!  This will be a year of just really taking it all in!

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Big Sur by Rod Jones Photography; creative commons

While the NYC Marathon is not until November, there are so many things that I feel the need to get in place.  I want to make sure my body is kept in good shape and have asked my massage therapist (Becky Koskinen) to set me on a regular schedule so that I keep everything stretched and working well.  The next order of business is to find a place to stay!  There will be 50,000 other people looking for a place to stay and I hate to wait until last-minute with that kind of crowd coming in.  I’ve reached out to an old friend that lives in New York (Jolene) for guidance on where to stay to maximize what the city has to offer.  I have a few places that are a must see in my mind.  I’ll do what I can, but need to balance that with keeping legs from getting too tired.  There’s also the New York food!  You just know that I’d like to check out some Italian food there!  I just know it’ll be the bomb-diggity!

I’ve been watching videos, reading articles and just breathing this race from the moment I found out that I was in.  Learning everything about the course and what it has to offer, how to set a pace with the adrenaline pumping and trying to comprehend there’ll be thousands of people lining the entire course screaming and cheering for all the runners!  I have no doubt that emotions will be running super high!

 

I’m hopeful that my bride Karla and my sister Patti will both be able to come along.  It just wouldn’t feel the same if my traveling Zombies couldn’t be a part of this.  There’s no better face to see at a finish line than that of the one you love the most.  Cross fingers that her work schedule works out.  If not, I switch to plan B and Patti goes along…maybe reach out to another family member or friend to go as well.  Hell…anyone that wants to come out to NYC and spend some time is more than welcome!  Reach out if you’d like to make it a group thing!

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I’ve decided that after completing this journey, I must have a tattoo to celebrate.  (Duh!)  Prior to that I’ve gone and had my tattoo artist (Sailor Woody…a.k.a. Robert Woody) place the simple words on the side of my hand. (JUST RUN)  It’s right where I need it to be when I struggle, when I need a reminder that when nothing else makes sense…Just Run!  I tell you folks all the time that I’ve felt from the very beginning of my running career, I believe that “All things are possible through running”.  I still believe that to this very day.  When I’ve had a tough day, when I want to move through sadness, when I need someone to listen to me…I go to the road.  The road understands us Runners!  It gives us exactly what we need, when we need it.  So to honor this, I now have this wonderful tattoo on my hand to reflect all of that!

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I always want to put my shout out to Blackjack Animal Rescue.  You know that I always think about my puppies!  Still working with Sailor Woody to get a design finished for t-shirts.  Stay tuned!  I’d love it when we get closer to the marathon if you all could make a small or large donation to the rescue in honor of my journey to New York.  The lives we can save would make the journey worth so much more!  By all means feel free to reach out to the rescue at anytime and help with supplies or donations.  Look through the puppies that are up for adoption or become a foster parent to one or more!  Fostering saves lives too!  If you take one in, that opens up a spot for another one to be pulled out of the High Kill shelters in the south.  Stella approves of this!

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Please, stay with me this year!  I’m just overflowing with emotions this running season.  I want so much to do well and help my pups.  I promise to keep the blogs flowing!  I’d like to thank those that have reached out to me with congrats for getting into this historical race.  The kind words have kept me smiling daily!  I’d also like to thank all the regular supporters and followers to this blog and my Run Zombie Run Facebook page.  I enjoy the likes and comments…truly!  Let’s keep this Zombie running…all the way to New York Baby!

I’ll see you on the Road!

~Zombie~

The Race I Love To Hate!

Ahhh yes…the Dave’s 10 Miler!  “The Race I Love To Hate”!  This is the third year that I’ve made the long trek across town to Delta, Ohio where they hold the annual Dave’s 10 Miler.  It’s a good 40 minute drive from our home, but for some reason, I keep returning to this one.  27164524_10213380004768256_277112797574721187_o

The first year I ran was in 2015 and OMG!!  Quite possibly the worst running conditions you could ever ask for!  Blowing and drifting snow/sleet, big swirling winds and just enough cover on the roads to keep you from strapping on Yak Trax!  That being said…I made it through the entire 10 miles (Frozen facial hair and all).  This race is always run in the mid part of January and in NW Ohio, that could mean anything for weather.

The 2017 run was a complete turn around from 2015.  We had 64 degrees and sunshine!  What the hell?!  While I enjoyed the temperatures and running in shorts, I kept thinking back to the 2015 run and was just blown away.  You really can get just about anything for weather at this time of year.

2018…the conditions looked to be pretty good going into the week prior to the event.  They were calling for a chance of rain and about 40 degrees on race day.  As it turned out, we did get 41 degrees, but also received a monster FOG!  Holy Hell!  Lining up for the race I just had to chuckle and told my wife, “every time I come out for this run I’m handed something unique!”  There was very little wind and with the temperature being basically perfect, we knew it was going to be a good run.  Both of us had been fighting the “Ohio Cruds” in the weeks building up to the race.  I was able to get out once just a week before to try to get my running legs back.  So, the idea of setting a new P.R. were tossed out the window and we both just decided to make it a training run and survive.  I paced with Karla for the first 6 miles and it was pretty wonderful.  We don’t often get to run together and sometimes that’s alright…lol!  Just kidding honey!  We clipped off the miles and enjoyed the thick haze out in the middle of no where!  I wore a High Viz Orange shirt due to the conditions.  I figured if I’m running on a country road and the speeding locals are not aware there’s a race going on, I’d like to be seen before getting run down…lol!  Most of the miles went pretty easy and my breathing was much improved from the week prior.  I did however have a small equipment problem with my shoe and sock combination.  The shoes I chose had a shift with the insert and it started to rub the side of my foot something awful.  I thought for sure there’d be a huge blister once we got home.  No blister but a bright red pinch mark.  All good now!26730829_1984847188210913_1541023208032878146_n

The end result was a 9:39 pace for the 10 miles.  Not what I’m used to but, like I said, this was a survival run.  Karla did awesome and was just a few minutes behind me.  I think she placed in her division!  She always claims to be slow but for some reason has no problem placing in her division…time and time again.  The shirt and bling were totally fun!  They hit the mark when they came out with that design!  I was planning on skipping the run this year and then the bling came out…damn you Dave’s!  All in all it was a good time.  We survived another strange weather event and finished a 10 mile training run.  Just one step closer to California and the numerous other fun runs!10155836_10201807798138634_1189736724_n

As I stated on my Run Zombie Run Facebook page, I’ve signed up for the http://www.hennepinhundred.com/.  The 50K (31 miles…32.7 for this course) is now on my list of things to do this year!  This will be my first Ultra Marathon and I just can’t wait to get it on!  I’ll be running with a guest Zombie, but I’ll reveal who that person is at a later date.  I will tell you that it’s a female and she’s been wanting to run an Ultra for a very long time.  This is her ultimate bucket list run and I’m very excited to run it with her.  I’ll also be raising funds for RA (rheumatoid Arthritis) in honor of my sister Gini Feller who suffers from this debilitating disease.  There’ll be more blogs as the year goes about my sister’s numerous struggles and how she finds ways to keep going.  She’s much tougher than I!  A career nurse, she still works full-time and manages to do so much more, even when her body tries to stop her.  I’m honored to be able to run for her!25311286_1934138480180051_6468389338526585126_o

So, the first organized run is in the books. Training needs to start cranking up and “there are miles to run before I sleep”.  I’ll continue to stay after my blog and keep everyone updated on what’s going on next!  I’ll fill you in on upcoming races, training and I’d like to do a sit down (question…answer) session with my sister Gini about her struggles and what she’d like all of us to know about RA.  Stay Tuned.

I’ll see you…on the road!

~Zombie~

2018…The Year We Turn Everything Around

Well, I know it’s been a little while since I’ve sat down and knocked out a Blog entry.  I never expected to go into the new year with a serious case of the Ohio Cruds!  I can almost always roll right through a cold and not miss a beat, but this one was a WOW!  I’m just now starting to feel like myself again and I know I’m improving because I’ve become stir crazy and focused on getting back out on the road again.   My very first run of 2018 was just a few days ago and only about 4.5 miles, but damn it felt good.

Let’s take inventory on what I’ve signed up for so far and some of the highlights to start out the 2018 running calendar.

The first organized run of 2018 will be the “Race I love to hate”!  The Dave’s 10 Miler out in Delta.  January 21st at 2 p.m. is the start time.  This race has been celebrated for numerous years now and is known for giving you a full on Ohio Blizzard (2015) or as we got to enjoy last year, 64 degrees and sunny!  The insanity of it all!  In 2015, this race almost broke me with the terrible conditions.  It seemed that at every turn the wind was blowing directly in your face and there was a combination of snow/sleet coming down.  I did a blog entry shortly after the 10 Miler that year…titled “Digging Deep.”IMG_20150322_080725328_HDR

The second race that I’ve not signed up for yet, but totally plan to is the Great Scott 25K. (February 18th) This is a double loop road run done on property of Oak Openings Metro Park.  This is a Toledo RoadRunner only event and once again, can be a serious challenge.  I’m always a little rusty during the first couple winter months and throwing a 25K or just over 15 miles into the training schedule is usually cause for laying in my recliner for the remainder of the day…lol!  It’s a nice event and a good tune up for the races ahead in the spring.  Besides, it’s an excuse to run at a cool park and grab an Awesome sweatshirt for signing up!  Love my Swag!

March 17th will bring the Black Swamp Festival of Races.  I dig this run mostly because of the “Memory  Mile”.  The last mile of the race is covered with signs that have the names of loved ones that have left our world.  It takes everything to get through this mile when you’re reading all the names and just feeling all the love these runners have for their family and friends.  I struggle with my breathing and usually have tears during this stretch.  I fell apart the first year I ran this after the passing of my Mother.  Seeing her name brought such a rush of emotions.  Believe me, these are all good things and I love that they do this each year.  I’ve asked that both my Mother and Father’s names be posted on a sign for this years run.  Love you Mom and Dad!  I just know they’ll be looking over me as I come across the finish line.

Alright, onto April.  April has a double whammy!  First is the Glass City Half Marathon on April 22nd.  This is the 10th Anniversary of this event and it’s the Home Town, so that makes it a must run!  The course is super scenic and the finish is inside of the Glass Bowl at UT (University of Toledo).  This race will be a training run for our big trip to the West Side of the Country!  April 29 The Big Sur International Marathon…for which we will be running the 21 miler this year!  (We wanted a different medal to add to our collection) They call this “Running the Ragged Edge Of The Western World”.  Every step of this course is just breathtaking!  I fell in love with California last year and feel the desire to go back and try my best to tame the course.

May 20th brings the Ann Arbor Half Marathon!  I’ve run this for the past few years and really enjoy the course.  It’s an Ass-Kicker!  Lots of hill challenges and one big mother of a Hill at just the right time to make you scream!  My sister complains each and every year about signing up, but she keeps right on going back with me…lol!  It’s a love/hate thing!  This year will be a touch different because they’ve changed the month from March to May.  While it’ll be much warmer running weather for us, it could prove to be more taxing on the system if we get some serious heat.  Time will tell!  Stay tuned!

June 17th I’ll be running the Towpath 10 miler. This race will be in the greater Cleveland, OH area and will be my first go at this one.  The H.R. direct at my workplace told me about it because his wife is the organizer of the Trilogy of race in the area.  I thought, Cleveland, Summer heat, 10 miles…WTF…I’m in!  I always get excited about trying out new destination runs even if they’re just a short hop down the Turnpike to get to!

I don’t want to jinx anything, but the next big event that a group of wild and crazy runners are working to organize for Mid-September is….wait for it…. Going On A RAGNAR RUN!!  Ragnar NH for the 20th Anniversary!  https://www.runragnar.com/event-detail/relay/reachthebeach Two Vans, 12 runners, running some 200ISH miles NON-STOP!  I went absolutely crazy after our first Ragnar and told everyone that it’s a life changer.  That’s for real!  Nothing but fun and raw emotions throughout the entire trip!  I highly recommend that anyone reading this consider doing one in your lifetime.  It’s a bucket list thang!  I’ll keep you up to date as more details become available on this run.

So there’s a look into Run Zombie Run 2018!  I’m running again this year to continue to help .  I have plans to get a new Run Zombie Run 2018 shirt together…not just for my races, but for you all to purchase and enjoy!  I’ve asked my favorite Tattoo Artist (Sailor Woody) at http://www.iatattoo.com/  to draw up a Zombie Dog for the front of the shirt.  Once we get that together, I’ll go to the fine folks over at https://www.jupmode.com/ to get the printing and such underway!  More details on this will be coming very soon.15823162_10208205482236738_934814482490240172_n

So, you know the drill from here!  Keep moving, go run, walk, pump weights, but do something!  We were meant to be moving!  The human body demands that we exercise to keep it happy!  Go rescue a dog and walk it at the park!  I just happen to know numerous fuzzy critters that would love to have a forever home…lol!  Seriously…look up blackjack and enjoy the sweet pups!  I’ve been out for a bit, so please like my Facebook page RunZombieRun and share it with all your pals!  I want to build things back up so that we can raise awareness of all the pets that needs love and homes as well as find new and exciting ways to stay in shape.  I’ll hit you up in the coming days with another entry…probably just before and/or right after the Dave’s 10 miler run.  I’m sure I’ll have something to say about that one…lol!  Take care of yourself and be good to one another!

I’ll see you on the Road!

~Zombie~

 

The Market To Market Relay (OHIO)

One of the races I had marked as a bucket list run was the Market To Market Relay Race.  This race is much like the Ragnar Relay Series minus the overnight running.  The idea is that some 200 teams (that’s the cap) start out running from the Cincinnati area and go continuously until they reach Dayton.  The race starts with a first wave going out at 5 a.m. and then roll through every 20 minutes until all teams have started.  We were wave 5 and launched at 6:40 a.m. on Saturday 9/9/17.21368767_10212394940022253_2995443330828422284_o

The team was really a smaller group of our team from the Ragnar Relays.  Made up of Karla Neeley, Stan Roberts, Amy Browning, Vicki Lynch, Patti Neeley and myself.  We were part of the over 40 division…lol!  Four of us were over 50 and two were at the tender age of 48!  With all that experience and silliness, this was going to be epic!

Pre-dawn out of Milford, Ohio is when we started rolling.  Amy would be the first of our Freaks On Parade (yeah…that’s our team name) to start the 76 mile hop to Dayton-town.  I was excited right from the get go!  The weather looked to be great, the winds were light and we had a touch of cloud cover hovering over us for the first part of the relay.  95% of the run was on a bike trail, so we didn’t have a lot of worry of vehicles flying by as we ran.  The trail was covered by mature trees and had beautiful wild flowers along the route.  Passing by small towns, parks, rivers and just stunning scenery was perfect!21559052_10212398547152429_6885560827382982748_n

There were 18 exchange sites that we needed to get to while a runner was out on the trail.  This made for even more fun as you hit the back roads of Ohio and got to see towns that I’d never seen.  I kept saying that it was hard to believe we were actually moving forward because it seemed like we were just driving in circles and around curvy roads.  The exchange areas were anything from parks to a Big K or Kmart store…lmao!  Everything was very well-organized and with Karla keeping track of everyone’s in and out times…how could we go wrong?!  21557903_10212396805228882_4191596888514505318_n

While in the van there was plenty of time for chit-chat, laughter and of course snacks! If you run all the miles…you get to eat all the food!  With each exchange, there was a new buzz of excitement.  When a runner returned from their leg, they’d share what they had seen on the run, how many runners that might have passed and conversation they had along the route. Sharing the experience was fun and let you enjoy what your teammate went through while running the trail.  As for passing other runners.  In the Ragnar Relay Series, this is referred to as a “Kill”.  Well, being that we were running to raise awareness and funds for Blackjack Animal Rescue, it just didn’t feel right calling it a “Kill”.  So the idea of calling it a “Wag” developed…lol!  We believe in no kill shelters for all dogs so it was agreed upon that if you passed another runner, it was a “Wag”!  I can tell you that we had quite a few Wags along the way!  Very proud of my team!  To go with the theme, we had a mini-van with a giant blow up dog strapped to the roof and Patti drew several super cute dogs on the windows of our van.  Karla had purchased dog balloons to add to the fun.  We ended up tying them to the back seat and every time we opened the hatch of the van, out popped the dogs!  Just “letting the dogs out” is what I’d say at a stop!

Once we got into the Dayton area and everyone had finished their run other than Patti, she was our clean-up or our Final runner that would cross the finish line.  We collected the dog balloons, waited for her to be about .02 miles away from the finish and ran to the finish line with our dogs in tow.  It was big fun and I’m sure had people chuckling as we came in.  Once we finished, our next mission was to find some cute kids and pass the dog balloons off to them.  What kid doesn’t like a balloon?!  Mission Accomplished!  Some of the sweetest little faces were thrilled to receive a balloon to take home with them.  I’m smiling just typing this and thinking about the adorable little girl that I gave my balloon to.21369399_10212394867780447_7320893948158576631_n

Once we got back to our hotel, everyone was absolutely spent from the day.  We shared a quiet dinner together at our hotel, enjoyed adult beverages together and shared more stories from the day.  This adventure turned out to be everything I could have hoped for and more!  Everyone got along so well, ran like the wind and enjoyed the experience.  76 miles covered in under 12 hours.  We ran an average pace of 9:05 minute miles.  No one was injured and everyone had a blast!

We took quite a few pictures and of course shared all the van pics with Blackjack Animal Rescue.  I’m hopeful that people get to know Blackjack better and understand the fine work they’re doing to save pups!  I’d love it if anyone could throw a few bucks their way in honor of this fun-filled race!  blackjackrescue.org.  Even $5.00 can make a difference in a dog’s life.21457406_10210193990868211_2093821647078098802_o

Thanks for following the Run Zombie Run group and for taking the time to read about the adventures of the Freaks On Parade!

I’ll see you on the road!

~Zombie~