The Ragged Coast (Big Sur)

Well, we’ve arrived back home after our adventure to the West Coast.  Carmel-by-the-sea was the town that we stayed in yet again this year with our favorite Hostess (Michele)!  She treats us like family and shares her lovely home with us crazy Ohio peeps. Shout-out to Michele and her cutie of a dog Ben…much love to you both!

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We spent most of the week wandering, as we always do.  Walking the coastline, hiking parks and just being looky-loos.  This year, we traveled a few miles up the road to Big Basin State Park.  This park is known for it’s beautiful redwood trees and challenging trails.  We set out to roam the 10-mile loop trail on a beautiful sunny day.  Once we arrived and figured out where the path actually started, along with navigating a few closures, we headed into a stunning forest full of trees that seemed to reach the sky!  The first part of the loop was going really well, but I did notice the temperature jumped quite a bit as we were doing our trek.  Surprise!  The temps in California can jump substantially in a short distance of travel.  We were used to upper 50’s and 60’s in Carmel…well, it had jumped all the way to 88 degrees at Big Basin.  This almost caused a “meltdown” in me big time.  We hadn’t figured in the higher temps when loading up our gear with hydration.  I had a 20 oz. bottle of water along with a snack.  For a 10 mile hike in cooler weather, that’s perfect.  In 88 degrees of sunshine, not so much…lol!  I’m typing this now, so you know we made it…but it was close.  I slammed some fluid the minute we reached the ranger station and snack facility.  That brought me back to life!  All in all, it was a beautiful day, and hike.

The race this year was spot on for weather.  We had overcast skies, cool temps with just a touch of humidity (75%) LOL! Karla and I had a case of the sillies on the bus ride to the start while taking a selfie, and then there was an issue with the window next to Karla.  It kept falling open, bringing chilly air into the bus.  Now, I don’t mind the cool air, but there were plenty of other runners (Karla included) that didn’t care for that.  So, Karla ended up holding the window a good portion of the trip to the starting line. (You’re a good egg Karla Jean).

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We met a fellow Ohioan on the bus who just happened to be from the same area that Karla’s brothers live in.  She was nervous as all get out because she didn’t think she’d make it before being swept from the course.  They allow you to go an 18:30 mile pace before being removed due to time allowed for the road to be closed.  We did our best to calm her and gave her some helpful strategy to get through on time.  I told her the most important thing was to enjoy ever minute she was out there.  Take in the beauty of the course.

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We got lined up for the start which consisted of walking up a serious hill from the park we’d been stationed at prior to the race.  Once at the top, you cross the timing mat and off you go.  I told Karla that I would start out running and we’d just see how the body responded.  Who knew my body would feel so good that we just kept running!  The first stop wasn’t until about mile 3 and that was to shed clothing and take on fluids.  We kept with the run walking thing for over the first half of the race.  I thought it best to switch back to walking, as I’d been training for walking over the past month.  I didn’t want to temp the running Gods too much…lol!  We maintained a very nice pace in the 14 minute mile area.  The course was every bit as beautiful as I remembered and I just really took everything in.  We stopped and took some pictures, enjoyed the music, dancing and other goodies along the way…including free beer!  Right Karla?  Everything was just great!  Karla hadn’t pushed me too much about running until we reach the last .2 of the course.  She absolutely wanted to come across the finish line running.  I grumbled, but gave into her request and started hauling butt!  We came in pretty fast…which in turn gave us some pretty special finish pictures…lol!  (see Karla…we should have walked in and taken better pictures) 🙂

If you ever have the desire to visit California, this is a great race to do and they offer numerous distances to attempt.  From a 5K all the way to a full marathon.  Getting into the full is done by lottery…so keep that in mind if you sign up.  The 21 miler gives you all the great views and more time to complete.  So, it’s walker friendly.  This race is definitely a bucket list run…so go do it!

For 2020 we’re taking a year off from California and seeing what other races peak our interest.  I’ve put my name in for the London Marathon, but it’s a lottery and chances are super slim.  What the heck…there’s only one go around…yes?

In my closing this time, I’d like to give shout-outs to some people that accomplished some goals they’d set out to crush.  Alicia Colombaro completed her first ever Half Marathon this year at the Glass City in Toledo!  Way to go lady…I’m super proud of you!

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Big Michael J. Porter ran his first sub 3 hour Marathon this year…also at the Glass City in Toledo.  That is a serious accomplishment brother, I can’t even put into words how cool that is.

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Jessica Knapp…who continues to do amazing races all over the place!  She marched through tough weather to finish multiple distance races over the weekend…on trail!  Congrats Jessica!

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Thanks to my wife Karla Jean for helping believe in myself during the 21 miler.  As some of you already know, I had a rough patch this Winter that caused me to need a surgery, followed by getting pneumonia.  Prior to all of this, my left knee was giving me all kinds of issues.  I’ve stayed true to my walking, pushed every day to reach recovery and with Karla’s belief in me, we had an awesome race!  I’m proud of myself for knowing my limits and yet, still pushing right up to the edge of them.

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The Big Sur 21-miler is in the books for 2019 and I’m hopeful for an excellent training season this summer to prepare for my first attempt at a 50 mile Ultra Marathon.  More on that as we move through the season.  Thanks to all that continue to follow, and please, keep on following.  Things will get interesting as the year passes.  You never know where and when I’m going to show up!  This Zombie can still run!  Continue to push yourselves for whatever goals you’ve set and rock them!  I’m always available to meet up and do a hop with those in need of a partner.  I have a great cast that are also available. (Karla, Patti and Leanna) Now get outside and play!

I’ll see you on the road!

~Zombie~

The Aging Athlete

Hey everyone!  I know it’s been a long time since the last Blog post on here.  I had several issues creep up over the winter months that brought me to a grinding halt.  While trying to work on my strength at the gym, doing body weight lunges, I herniated the upper area of my right quad/groin.  Needless to say, it was something that required almost immediate surgery.  I have a fantastic surgeon that repaired almost the exact same area on the left side numerous years ago. (Props to Dr. Thusay) He took excellent care of me, repaired the area, and got me back on my feet quickly.

I’d love to tell you that I shot right through the recovery and bounced back to running…but NO!  During the second week of recovery, I got pneumonia!  I’ve never had it in my life and this kind of scared me.  I was unable to breathe properly, congested, fever and had zero energy.  I slept in the upright position in my recliner just to maintain an airway.  My family doctor (Dr. Odeh…also a hero of mine) attacked the illness immediately and with heavy doses of medicines.  It was a slow recovery and I’m ever so grateful for the caregivers in my life.  Huge props to my work people for keeping tabs on me and sending positive MoJo my direction!  It was much appreciated.

Once I was given the green light to get back to walking, I went after it with a fury.  I knew that it was in my best interest to get back to moving as much, and as often as possible in order to restore the bodies flexibility.  In my mind I was thinking, it’s not running, but I’ll take it.  As things turned out, I began to really enjoy my walks.  I found myself catching glimpses of things that I may have missed while out on my runs.  Strangest thing to me was that I felt just as good, if not better than when I was running!

I had to do a follow-up with my family doctor and had a lengthy discussion about my different aches and pains prior to surgery and the new-found happiness with walking.  The doc kind of chuckled and said, “well, you’re not getting any younger”.  For the first time in a long time, those words really hit me.  I’ve always pushed my body to the breaking edge and did so with a recklessness of a teenager!  Yes, I’m an athlete, and yes, I’m growing older.  It was time to set up a plan on how to best approach getting back into shape and not breaking anything further…lol!

Going back to the basics.  That’s what I’ve decided to do.  When I first started running some 34 years ago (this June), I started out walking.  I went from walking to running from tree to tree, and expanded the distance every two weeks.  I’ve decided to continue the walking and do it at a rapid pace to give my body a workout, but give the joints time to heal from the many years of abuse.  I’m getting the cardio that I crave, the “runner’s high” is still there, and I’m enjoying every step!  The strength training has also been reduced to the basics.  I’ve started out with basic push-ups and crunches.  I’ll continue to up the number each day and begin to add in side crunches, planks and a few other exercises to get things in order.  The most important change I’ve made was switching my diet to 12 hours on (eating) and 12 hours off…along with writing down everything that finds its way into my stomach!  If you have to write it down and look at it, you’re more likely to really think about what you’re doing.  It’s just holding yourself accountable.  I’m about 6 weeks into this and at  4 weeks, I’d lost 6 lbs.  I have a set goal in mind that I’d like to achieve by fall, but that’ll be kept in my  own head…lol!

I signed up last year for both the 21 miler (Big Sur California) and a 50 miler Ultra Marathon in Illinois (Hennepin 50 miler).  I totally plan on achieving both of these…walking!  I’m excited for California because it’s such a beautiful coastline and again, if I’m walking, I’ll probably see things that I wasn’t paying attention to when running.  The pressure is far less as the cut off pace is an 18:30 minute mile.  I’m currently training at a 14:30 or lower on most walks.  The 50 miler will be a challenge no matter how you slice it.  Anyone that’s ever walked higher distances knows, it can be brutal.  I have a training schedule set up and will work the entire summer to get it done.

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So, for those of you out there that may be in the same boat as me, or you just want to change things up in your life.  Go back to the basics.  Allow yourself the time to make things right again.  Allow yourself to find beauty in every step you take.  There’s a great big beautiful world out there just waiting for you to see it!  I highly recommend you do so on you own two feet!  That’s my plan as an aging athlete.  I will still tell you to #neverquit and #neverstop !

So it’s off to the West Coast and taking in the Ragged Coast!  I’ll share my adventure, as I always do.  Just know that I’ll have my mind on Record the entire time.  I don’t want to miss a single moment!

I’ll see you on the road!

~Zombie~

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~

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~