Ragnar contest…what it means

I know that you’ve all been seeing me post at a ridiculous pace on Facebook and I’d like to apologize for blowing up the feeds.  This contest that our Ragnar Relay Chicago entered could allow our team to run another Ragnar and have the entrance fee paid for!  That’s some $1,300.00 and the opportunity to live the dream all over again!

This may seem a bit silly to some but let me just say that this Ragnar (my first ever) changed me!  When they say in their advertisements that “you’ll find your inner wild”…it’s for real!  I found something inside of myself and learned so much about life, being part of an amazing team and how to overcome adversities that I never thought possible!  It was more than just miles on the road.  It was a true “Journey”!

Sharing your life inside of two vans with 11 other people over 2 day and running some 200 miles…no matter what is thrown it you…AWESOME!!  We all came together as one functioning unit during that time.  We all felt for one another and became stronger for it!  To say that I want to go back and do it again may sound crazy to some but to me…it just feels right!

So when you see our pleas and begging for votes on Facebook or by text, understand that the passion we have for this race is real.  It’s moved all of us in some special way.  If you ask any of my teammates, they’d be quick to tell you how much they loved the experience and that they’d do it all again in a heartbeat!  It’s safe to say that we all care a great deal for each other and have a passion for our running.  So please, take the minute to vote for our Mighty Minions team and please pass the word to everyone you can!  This is our last day to get votes and we are in a heated race to win with one other team!  I know they have passion for the event or they wouldn’t be fighting day and night like us.  We just need you all to back us and show the Ragnar folks that the Minions have something more to prove out there.  We need to set free our “Inner Wild” once more!  Make it happen for us…be part of this special race!  Voting ends at 11 p.m. today…Monday 6/20/16!  It’s go time!

Thanks for the continued support from all and let’s get this done!  I’ll see you on the road and hopefully…at the next Ragnar!!  ~Zombie~

The link is listed below and you can also find it on my Run Zombie Run Facebook pagehttp://offerpop.com//campaign/807684/entry/6549528


The Ragnar weekend wrap-up

Over a year ago, a group of runners decided it would be a good idea to run the Ragnar Relay series from Madison, WI to Chicago IL…roughly 200 miles.  I’ve had my eye on Ragnar for years now and considered it high up on my bucket list of runs to do!  When the team started to form I threw my hat in the ring!  So much talk and planning went into this adventure.  We created our own private Facebook Group to keep in touch with one another and to share motivational pieces.  Chicago Ragnar was now alive and the dream was becoming more of a reality for me!

As the year passed, there were a couple of changes to runners due to life issues and injuries.  My sister Patti was part of the group from the start and my wife Karla was added with just a few weeks out.  Many of the people on our team I’d never met face to face and was so excited to expand on these friendships that had formed over the year.  Keep in mind that our team was formed on-line and we were from numerous different states.  Minnesota, Illinois, Michigan and Ohio!  The logistics of getting this thing together were mind-boggling!  Our Fearless Leader and team Captain Russ Beaver was the perfect person to captain this group.  He’d done a Ragnar before so he had knowledge on how things should go and handled all the preparations.  I’m still amazed at how he kept this thing together!  As the travel time grew closer I was riding such a high…nothing could break my spirit!

Travel day!  There were a couple of people coming out of Ohio so we decided to cut down on the number of cars and rode together.  Amy, Stan, Karla, Patti and I took off in a rented mini van.  Let me tell you…it was like Holiday the entire way there with this group!  We were all so stoked to be doing this run…the van was just spilling over with excitement!  Lorelei was coming out of Ohio as well and had close friends in the Michigan area on our team.  They too got together and car pooled into the Chicago area.  I’m told there may have been some silliness inside of that car for the ride as well. 🙂  Our team Captain was flying in from Minnesota.  He was scooped by Illinois’s happiest traveler Melissa!  Super runner Ken (also out of Ohio) was dropped off by his wife and kids at our designated meeting area and Kris (also from Illinois was dropped off as well.  The team of 12 was to meet in Chicago at an Enterprise rental shop so that we could scoop our big white vans and head to Madison, WI.  Traffic was an ass kicker in Chicago!  A group of us arrived early and decided to hang out at a local snack shack.  This place became our true meeting place over the next several hours as the remaining members found their way through the traffic nightmare!  Once we were all assembled, we loaded up the vans and hit the trail for Madison!  Hotel check in and the all important shopping trip.  Once we checked in we headed for the grocery store, loaded up on runner snacks…lol!  Gatorade, Peanut Butter, bagels, water, pretzels, all the fun things you’d eat while running this crazy race!  We all grabbed a quick dinner after this and hit our rooms for the last bit of normal sleep for days!

Friday…Ragnar Morning!!  I have to tell you at this point I felt like my head was going to explode!  Emotions were running so high and I was so ready to get this running going.  I was set to be the first runner to leave at 8:15 a.m.  I felt honored to represent this team and wanted to make a good showing for the group.  The morning before we reached the starting line was really a total blur to me.  I remember telling myself to run my own race and keep calm.  The music was pumping and people were screaming and cheering everywhere!  The start of this race is unique because there were almost 500 teams involved!  (That’s a lot of white vans and bodies) They started at about 5:30 a.m. turning teams loose and did this every 15 minutes all the way into the afternoon hours!  I took my place with a good-sized group (towards the back) and just waited to be turned loose!  Once they started us out…I settled right into my running groove and just enjoyed what Madison had to offer.  The parks and streets were full of charm and beauty.  I felt as though my head was on a swivel the entire run.  I did notice that the temps were picking up quickly and was a little worried about my lack of water for this 6 mile hop.  Once again I told myself to trust in my training.  I’d trained prior to getting there on several runs with little water at about the same distance…just in case.  I passed off the slap bracelet to my sister Patti at the first exchange and we hit the road to get in front of her for the next exchange.  This was pretty much what we did the entire way!  If you weren’t running,  you  were checking maps to see if there were spots to help your runner who was out on their route or prepping your food for your next run or driving the van to the next exchange point or dare I say it…trying to rest!  Just constant motion the entire time!

Our last runner to go out on the first leg was my bride Karla.  She was positioned to run the longest leg on the course at 9.9 miles.  I’ll mention here and now that the weather was most unkind to us for this race.  Temperatures went past the 90 degree mark and humidity was way high!  We had the full sun with no clouds the entire first day.  Conditions set to wreck runners for sure!  Karla was prepped and loaded up on fluids.  I gave her a pep talk about staying hydrated and we checked the course for water stops.  She had two on her course and figured that would get her through.  We had no way to support her on this leg because of the trail she was running on.  No areas for vans to get to her.  I was nervous as was the rest of the team.  Well as we waited at the next exchange, we were all checking our watches and figuring she should be there by now.  A text alert came to our captain from race command stating that “team 372 (that’s us) had a runner down…being transported by ems to the local hospital.”  My heart exploded with fear and I immediately became a wreck mentally.  Once we got the address to the hospital, we turned over the running to our second van and headed to the hospital to check on Karla.  I called her cell phone and a nurse picked it up.  She stated that Karla was unsure of her address and vital information…they were concerned and she said she was “freaking out”!  I told the nurse what she’d been doing and said I had no doubts that she was severely dehydrated.  Once I arrived and was let in to see Karla I asked her “do you know me”?  She said yes…my next question…”do you remember Stella”?  She said yes I do…lol!  She was scared and cold at this point but as the fluids went back into her body, the better she felt.  The total time at the E.R. was around 3 hours and it was decided that we would continue the run but take over the remaining legs for Karla.  I offered to run all of her remaining legs but the captain said he’d take one and I could do the other.  Karla was to stay calm and cool for the remainder of the race.  She was really tough on herself afterwards and felt as though she wrecked it for everyone.  The team rallied behind her and told her that she was part of our team and we would carry on for her!  Amazing people on this team.  Karla never gave up in spirit, her body just didn’t have the fluids to get her through such terrible conditions.

We headed to our next major exchange where the two vans would meet up and our van…#1 would start our second set of legs.  This was a good time for us.  We had a small window to eat regular food and actually sit in some shade for a bit.  We were all being weather nerds and watching the approaching storms.  Very ugly and severe thunderstorms were on the way!  Once the time arrived, I geared up for my night run.  Headlamp, and extra lights so that I could find my way down some streets and then a bike trail for the next 4 miles.  I won’t lie…I love running in the dark and just knowing that a storm was coming made me haul ass that much more!  I shot through the 4 miles in sub 8 minute miles to get out of the upcoming storm.  Once I reached the next exchange point, I was told to take a “lightning card” and head for cover.  We were basically in time out until the lightning passed.  We had to skip past the next leg due to storms all around the area.  All the teams were pushed ahead and once we finally got clear of the storms, our captain set out on the road to keep the party going.  Once we went through all of our runner’s second legs, we headed for the next major exchange point which was right on the lakefront.  There we had time to try to nap before the morning take off again.  There was no sleep to be had inside this van…blah!  My big body didn’t care for the cramped seats at all and I didn’t bring extra gear to sleep outdoors.  Morning light broke and it brought me back to life!  The view on the lake was awesome!  I cleaned up, got my gear on and headed for the exchange point to take up my third leg of the race.  I was again blessed with some of the most beautiful views that WI had to offer!  Both beautiful homes and fantastic lake views…so peaceful for this tired runner.

We rifled through our runners quickly Saturday morning and I jumped into my last leg.  This was original Karla’s 5.1 mile run but I picked it up so that we could keep things moving.  This was the toughest leg for me.  Wide open, no shade at all, on gravel, no views to keep me distracted and HOT!!  My team told me they would catch me at around 3 miles and they were true to form!  I picked up a Gatorade, cold wipes and an ice-cold hat!  It carried me on down the trail but I still felt like my neck and back were on fire!  I fellow runner and Ragnarian on the route offered to put ice cold water on my back at one of the crossings.  She may have saved me there!  I really needed to cool my body back down and quick.  Thank you random runner…proof that runners are special people!!  Once I reached the exchange I was ready to be done.  I turned over the honors at that point to Super Man Ken!  Van #2 took over from there and I passed on the information that it was terrible conditions so that they could aid their runners for the remainder of the race.  Well Van #2 did not disappoint.  They took good care of one another, aided each other on several occasions and just rocked it!  Nice team work yet again!  Stan the Man was our last runner to finish the race.  He too had a miserable 9+ mile run in order to find the finish line.  He was loaded up with all the necessary gear, he was aided several times on his run and with the last few miles to go…we all met at the finish and prayed that Stan would keep it together and find his way home.

The remaining 11 runners all found our way to the finish area.  We checked our watches and waited on Stan.  Once we thought he would be close, we headed towards the area where he’d be coming off the trail and heading for the final short stretch to the finish.  The team huddled together and I walked a little closer to the trail.  I guess I just felt like I needed to be right there to make sure Stan was going to be alright.  After going through the ordeal with Karla going down, I was seriously worried about Stan and his health.  Well, Stan came around the corner and you could tell by his face that he was done!  I gave the thumbs up to the team and we all gathered around Stan and raced into the finish area.  It was such a proud moment that we all got to share together.  After everything we’d faced, we were standing at the finish!  Never in my running career that spans over 31 years have I been so proud!  This moment was just magic!  Our captain collected the medals and passed them out, we did lots of pictures together and apart.  Talked about all the craziness that we’d been through and shortly after said “I’d do it all again”!

The Ragnar Relay series is for real!  As my fellow team-mate Kathleen stated “this was tougher than my marathon” and “this is a totally different beast”!  How true those words are.  It’s not just the miles that you cover, it’s the lack of sleep, the living in a van with 5 other people, trying to keep your body running on a schedule that can change at anytime and finding a way to overcome all of your adversities.  Yes, the Ragnar was an amazing event and has once again changed my life forever!  I’m grateful to have spent this time with a group of people who inspired me, cheered for me and in the end shared the love of running with me!  We found our inner wild this past weekend and we also found true friendship!

Thank you to every one of my teammates for sharing this bucket list adventure with me!  I want you all to know that you’re all very special people and that we shared a wonderful part of our lives together that no one can ever take back.

This is your Zombie saying…I’ll see you on the road!




Well after over a year of planning the race is now staring us in the face…RAGNAR RELAY-CHICAGO!!  During this year there has been much training, dreaming, worrying and lots of laughter shared among a group of 12 runners that all decided it was time to run this awesome race!

The group was formed from an on-line virtual running club on Facebook known as Runjunkees.  I think you kind of get from the name that we’re all a little on the nutty side when it comes to our running and the desire to seek out new and exciting races and/or challenges!  We all live and breathe running and share the stories on Facebook of all our adventures.  Some of the people on our team (known as the Mighty Minions) have never even met one another in person!  We’re setting out to run this race of about 200 miles, living in two vans with people that are basically new to our lives…how cool is that?!  The added bonus for me is that my younger sister Patti and my bride of coming up on 10 years Karla will also be running on this team!  Super Bonus!!

The Ragnar Relay Series started in about 2003 and I’ve had my eye on it for about 10 years.  The series has grown in leaps and bounds and relays are now held in states all over the country.  They offer both road and trail relays and in some spectacular places.  This particular one we’re doing starts in Madison, WI and goes into Chicago, IL.  Much of the run is along lake lined areas and offers all kinds of challenges for us. We’ll run in parks, on roads, trails, have some hills and a little flat land.  We’ll go from farmland to big city lights!  This will be EPIC!

Back a few years ago, I was running a half marathon in Bowling Green, KY and spotted a Ragnar emblem on the back of a vehicle.  I told my wife as we walked past “one day I’ll have that on my car”!  I’ve never let go of that and I…along with my team will be proud owners of both the Ragnar emblem and the very special Bling that comes along with it!

I told you all that this year was about the “Bucket List” runs and Oh Baby is this ever a Bucky List winner!  I plan on adding some fresh ink on my skin once this journey has been completed!  To some that may seem extreme…but to me it feels right and it’s again part of “my journey”

I plan on taking as many pictures as possible along the way and keeping everyone updated via Run Zombie Run on Facebook!  It looks to be on the warm side so expect messy, wet people with huge smiles! 🙂  I’ll kick out another blog once we wrap things up and get back home.

So please remember to get out there and live!  Take those dreams and turn them into reality!  Set goals and crush them!  I’ve said this before and here we go again…”Life is not a spectator’s sport…go out and play”!

I’ll see you all on the road!


The Time Has Arrived!

Being an (East) Toledo born and raised runner, there is one event that we all look forward to in this town!  The Glass City Marathon!  The Glass City Marathon turns 40 this year and is well-known for being one of the best courses to knock down a killer time due to our lack of hills.  While we may lack hills, we never lack in spirit or talent!  NW Ohio is full of some of the best runners you’ll find anywhere in the country.  Really…stop by some of the events held by the #toledoroadrunners during the year and you’ll see some serious speed!  Numerous people from this area not only qualified for the Boston Marathon but went there and smoked the clock!  So proud of you all!  Remember this…you’ve done something that many will only dream of doing and that’s special.

Sunday, April 24th at 0703 a.m. expect the streets of Toledo to be filled with runners!  Yes we get up at ridiculous hours and yes we run in any condition mother nature throws our way.  Why you ask?  Because we’re runners and we love what we’re doing!  This Sunday looks to be on target for excellent running conditions!  I expect to see more Toledo runners BQ (Boston Qualify)!  Get it!

I’ll be there on Sunday!  Taking part in my favorite distance.  The Half Marathon or 13.1 miles!  (call me lazy)  I just went to see my favorite massage therapist Becky at Massage Works in Perrysburg, Ohio to keep the body tuned so that I can “hopefully” PR!  I set the bar high last year for myself and turned in a 1:56 time.  If I can crack that…hot dog!  I’ve trained through the winter and have no major injuries…so cross your fingers that I can lay down a time to make myself proud!

My training partner and sister (Patti) will be running the Half Marathon as will my bride (Karla)!  I’m wishing all good things for both of them come Sunday and also want to thank them for always being supportive and keeping me focused!  We got this!  Keep thinking of the beer tent Karla! 😉

I’ll be sporting quite a bit of PINK gear this year!  My 2016 Run Zombie Run shirts have Pink lettering and of course the Mobile Meals of Toledo emblem on the back!  The Pink is for my warriors that are fighting cancer, have won the battle and for those we’ve lost to this terrible disease.  I love you all!  I will carry you on this run as I always do.

My people at Mobile Meals of Toledo…what can I say?  They are simply amazing!  I’m so proud every time I put on my Run Zombie Run shirt!  It’s great to be part of a group that works so hard to make life better for so many people!  My wife still volunteers to deliver for Mobile Meals during lunch time and has shared many stories of the wonderful people who she meets.  Sometimes…the person delivering the meal is the only person they get to see in a day.  I’ve been lucky enough to go out on delivery during the Pet Food delivery that Mobile Meals does.  Again, there are people out there that would rather feed their pet than themselves.  So please remember Mobile Meals for this race or at anytime!  I have my runzombierun.net website that you can donate any amount you wish!  You can leave a message for myself or just a quick note letting the people at Mobile Meals know they’re appreciated.  I appreciate the donations and the wonderful following we have on here!

Now back to Sunday!  Come out and cheer, volunteer, join in the 5K!  You don’t have to run…walkers are welcome!  This race is about Toledo and the wonderful people that live and work here!  We’re special and can I just say…BADASS!  I’m always proud to say that I’m from Toledo!  I’m especially proud when I travel to other states and serve notice to others that we Run in Toledo!  Runners…GET IT on Sunday!!

I’ll see you all on the road!


Fine tune the machine!

Well April has arrived!!  Now that we’ve enjoyed some pleasant temperatures during the last month, April decided to throw a little surprise of its own.  The Ann Arbor Half Marathon was on my docket for April 3rd.  Little did I know the temperature was going to take a nose dive the night before the race!  Driving up North we had high winds and snow!  Nothing over an inch but it was quite miserable on Saturday April 2nd.

This race was picked out because I struggled on the course last year at this God Awful hill around Mile 10.  I have my own personal push to never walk on a hill.  Those that have run with me know that I always say to “embrace the incline” or “charge the hill”.  Well…I charged the hill last year and the hill just kept on going!  Zigging and Zagging through a park setting you’d swear the hill would go on forever!  It broke me just a short bit from the top and that sat with me for the entire year!

Race morning was a feel like temperature of 16 degrees but the winds were only around 4 or 5 mph.  The skies were clear and the sun was on the rise!  This race starts out right next to the “Big House” (Michigan Stadium) and goes on through city streets, campus area, and beautiful neighborhoods.  The streets suck as most Michigan roads do…lol…but the sights make up for all of it!  You get the roads, some gravel area and a mix of gravel and dirt for the park section.  As my sister says…”You feel like you’re on a constant incline”!

I ran with my sister for the better part of the race as she is my training partner and I always enjoy sharing the sights.  Right before mile 10 I pushed a little ahead and there it was…THE HILL!!  From the beginning of it all the way through I kept telling myself, embrace the incline, charge the hill, run your race and don’t look up!  Well Hot Dog when i reached the top and cleared the hill I almost burst into tears!  I kicked the hills ass and still had something in reserve!

It was just a few miles to the finish and I thought it was time to turn it on!  I picked up the pace to an 8:22 at mile 12 and added a bit more after that.  I felt a shadow for the last few miles and sure enough, I had a young lady who had been pacing me.  She came along side and then passed me just after the mile 12 marker.  So I decided to pick up the pace and see if she was going to race it in.  Yup…She stepped up the pace again when I got beside her!  What an awesome challenge!  From there I ran along side of her and forced her to push her hardest to keep with me and/or pull ahead.  In the last block I said “lets go…don’t let the old man beat you”!  We ran across the finish line side by side and after crossing she turned around and said “Thank you”!  She said she needed to push and I was very happy to assist!  The competitive spirit in a runner is so strong and yet we are such good sports!  It made the end of my race so much better to know that I helped someone reach their potential and finish strong!

This race was a “tune up” if you will for the Glass City Half Marathon.  I wanted to run a nice steady pace and do a hard push at the end.  I also wanted to punch that hill in the face and I did it!  I feel pretty strong and have high hopes to PR at the Glass City!  It’ll be a challenge and you never know what the body or mother nature are going to bring.  Last year was a 1:50 and some change so I’m within reach!  If the weather is good and I don’t break anything…I just might break that number!  Always reach and never be afraid to fail!  Failure teaches us and forces us to evaluate, train and try again!  I beat the hill that took me last year in Ann Arbor…now I need to beat the time I set last year at the Glass City!

Thank you to all that follow and support me!  Thank you to everyone that continues to help me raise funds for Mobile Meals Of Toledo!  Let’s keep going and make this a great year!  I’ll see you on the road!


Closing in on Glass City

First off, sorry for taking so long to get going on my blog!  I’ve been super busy with several different projects and one thing in particular is very important to me.  More on that at a later date!  (I know…that’s kind of rotten to tease.)

mike-off-to-raceThere have been several races of late that I just wanted to share a little about.  Recently, Karla and I went to North Carolina to run The Asheville Half Marathon on the grounds of the Biltmore!  Can I just tell you that this race was everything they billed it to be!  The course was not only super challenging but absolutely beautiful!  Rolling hills (and I do mean hills!), both paved roads and gravel, spectacular views of the estate and the mountains…it had everything!

mike_ashville_blingKarla has had an injury that just now is starting to allow her to run on a more regular basis.  She took the place of my sister Patti in North Carolina and did very well!  She cussed at me for being too motivational at about mile 10 or so, but other than that…all went well!  I highly recommend putting this race on your “must do” list!  Well organized, great swag bag and some super sponsors!

mike_great_black_swampThis past weekend was the Great Black Swamp Festival of Races!  I decided to run the 15K this year as I may have been a little bored on the 25K last year…lol!  The 15K is a wonderful distance for me as it’s what I train as my long runs.  I felt great during the race and stayed at the pace I set out to run.  I’m on target for what I’d like to run for the Glass City Half Marathon on April 24th!  I’d like to better my time at Glass City this year and that means cutting below the 1:50 time.  It will be a challenge and I’m sure it will hurt a bit but I feel the need to do this.  It’s just for me…my own little mental game I like to play.

mike-coworkersThe Black Swamp brought out friends, family and co-workers!  Several of the ladies I work with decided to walk the 5K and did a wonderful job!  Very proud of all of them for committing to it and then getting it done!  Nice work and I hope to see all of you at another race or two this year!  My major supporter…Antie N was there!  She shows at almost every race we run here in the Toledo area.  She keeps me motivated and does regular donations to Mobile Meals!  She always has a great hug and a warm smile and that means the world to me!

The Black Swamp is special to me because they have the last mile (the memory mile) covered with signs of the names of so many people we runners/walkers have lost over the years.  It’s our way of remembering them and showing how special they were to our lives.  Both my parents names were on the mile and it’s always bitter sweet to see the signs.  This too should be a “must do” race!

As I said above…the Glass City Half Marathon is April 24th!  I’d so love to have people come out and support all the fine runners and walkers!  It’s the largest event in Toledo during the year for running and the more people that show, the more other runners will talk about the race and come from all over to run here!  Did I mention this is the 40th Anniversary of the Glass City Marathon??  Yup…just another reason to come out and support the event!  The other thing I’d like to see is a push in donations for Mobile Meals of Toledo!  If you’ve ever wanted to donate or if you’d like to help out again…please…before, during or after the Glass City would be so appreciated!  It shows how much we care for this organization that continues to do great things for those in need in “our” community!  You can just go on my web page runzombierun.net and click on the donation button!  There’s a spot in there for any kind of message you’d like to leave as well.  If you want to donate in honor of someone or you want to just see me crush this Half Marathon…put it in there!  I do get to see a copy of your message via email and love some of the things people post. 🙂  All monies go directly to Mobile Meals of Toledo!  I get nothing more than the satisfaction of making a difference.  I want to do well for this race and I want to do even better for the organization that I’ve taken great pride in helping all of last year and again this year!

More races coming!  Before the Glass City I’m traveling back to Ann Arbor to run the Half Marathon there!  It starts right next to the “Big House”!  It’s a great course and last year caught me off guard.  I actually had to walk for a short section on a hill.  If you know me…you know that I absolutely hate walking on hills and demand more from myself!  So this year…I’m crushing that hill!!  Silly??  Maybe…but it’s who I am!

Stay tuned for more episodes!  I’ll get back on here after I handle the Ann Arbor Half Marathon and give you all a report.  Remember to help me with Mobile Meals of Toledo and also to get out there and move!  The body was meant to be in motion…not on a couch or in a chair!  Thanks again for all the support and I’ll see you on the Road!


The Final Four!

I’m so excited to say it…The Final Four Races!!  Early on in this adventure I thought I’d fail for sure.  The injury bug came to visit early and often during the first couple months.  With some good workouts, a great massage therapist (Becky at Massage Works) and of course Dr. Odeh at Genoa Medical I’ve made it this far!

The Final Four are as follows:

10/11/15 http://runtoledo.com/macqueens-run-for-your-life-10k-5k/ The MacQueen’s Run for your life will be tomorrow morning in Holland, Ohio!  Run begins at 9 a.m.

10/17/15 http://www.davesraces.com/ The Trick or Trot 5K and Zombie Walk!  This one starts at 9 a.m. also and will be at Fallen Timbers Mall.

11/8/5 http://www.monroehalfmarathon.com/  The Monroe Half Marathon!  My favorite running distance and just a stone throw from the Toledo area.

11/14/15  The Big Race #30!!  http://www.davesraces.com/  The 48th Annual Churchill’s Half Marathon!  One of the oldest races in the area and of course…13.1 Miles of Awesome!  I felt that the last race had to be a good one and I wanted to stay local for the finish!  This race has always been a challenge.  It will start at Perrysburg High School at 9 a.m. and finish at Fallen Timbers shopping Mall!  I invite anyone and everyone to come on out!  I would love to see Zombies all over the course with smiles, cheers and maybe a cow bell or two!  I do run faster with the sound of a cow bell…just sayin!

Please feel free to go back through some of my blogs throughout the year.  I’ve done this a few times to reflect!  I’ve also gone through my Facebook page Run Zombie Run.  So many pictures of the things I’ve seen and the places I’ve traveled through the year!  All of the amazing support I’ve received!!  I can never thank my friends, family and co-workers enough!  All the funds that have been raised for Mobile Meals of Toledo!  I’ll get together a grand total at the end of the year along with some fun stats on how many miles I’ve covered racing, how many miles (approximately) I’ve run in training and some of the challenges that I’ve faced through the year.

The past couple of races have been fantastic!  The Smoky Mountain’s Half Marathon in mid September was very hilly and beautiful!  My sister Patti and Karla both ran this one and had a blast!  I posted a much better time this year on the course at 1:58:30.  I was super thrilled with it due to the hills and humidity!  Mid 60’s and 95% humidity!  I was soaked all the way through by the finish line!

The next Half marathon was in upper Michigan.  The Sleeping Bear Dunes Half!  Outstanding course!  Seriously!  If you ever get the chance to run this race or just go and visit the area…do it!  Cool temperatures with a touch of wind at the start of this race.  My sister and I both felt really good and kept a positive attitude the whole way through!  It paid off!  1:51:47 was my time and a new PR!  With the conditions and the hills in the race…I was just floored!  My sister broke into tears after coming across the finish at 1:51:51!  Not only was it a huge jump in time for her but she scored 3rd place in her age group!  So proud!

So here we go!  The Final Four!  The Big push to reach the Finish!!  I need all the help I can get to make this!  The time for Zombies is now!

I’ll see YOU…on the road!


Loss and the road ahead

Robert W. "Bob" Neeley, December 1, 1936 - August 6, 2015

Robert W. “Bob” Neeley, December 1, 1936 – August 6, 2015

On August 6, 2015 my Father, Robert W. Neeley passed away.  A strong-willed and passionate man passed these very same traits onto his children.  The words “I can’t do it” were not allowed in our home.  While we didn’t always see eye to eye over the years, I admired his drive and wanted so much to be noticed by him.  During the last weeks he was alive, I was able to have some good conversations with him and found that he was a fan of the Run Zombie Run campaign.  He asked how I was feeling and was I looking forward to getting all 30 races completed.  I told him of the many obstacles I had faced over the past months: the hamstring, the groin and several different foot issues.  He kind of chuckled and said…”You’ll be fine and you’ll finish this because you’re my son.”  That was an amazing moment for me!  My Father was never very good at telling you how proud he was of you.  He had no problem telling others all about your accomplishments, but to say them to you…very rare.  I was kind of choked up and said, “Wow!”  He chuckled again and told me to just keep running and he’d be proud to see me finish the 30 races.

Well, he decided to leave before the big party for the 30 races.  I’ll be at #24 next weekend.  He may not be here to share in the festivities then, but he’s with me now as I run every mile!  I’ve been challenged to run 100 miles during the month of August by my good friend Brian “Monk” Taylor.  I decided to take on that challenge and dedicate the miles to my father – the man who has given me the strength to always push, never quit and to be the very best!  Dad may have had a hard time sharing his feelings but I know in my heart that he loved me and was proud of what I’ve been able to accomplish thus far in my life.

I’m over 70 miles for the month of August and just 7 races away from completing the 30 races I’ve set out to run.  I know I’ll get it done… my Dad told me so and I won’t let him down.  I’ll continue to have my chats with him on the open road.  We all know that’s where I find my serenity.  Strength, drive, passion…yeah…that’s my Father.

For my friends at Mobile Meals of Toledo…I’ve got your back!  I’ll get this done and continue to raise awareness of the many needs you folks have.  To those that are fighting and surviving cancer…I’ve got your back as well!  I’ll carry you on my skin, on my clothing and in my heart. For you Dad… I’ll never quit!

See you on the road…


Training, Racing, Planning and looking towards #30

Sorry for the long delay!  There have been several events going on in my life and of course work just loves to suck the life out of me!  Training has been going very well!  I’ve been maintaining my once a week-long run and an assortment of distances throughout the week.

July 2nd was the Woodville 4th of July celebration 5K!  Although I worked during the day, I managed to hold onto enough energy to get through the 5K and also managed to stay in my wheel house on time. (24:19) was my Garmin time!  I’m finding comfort in the mid to lower 24’s for 5K’s these days and enjoying that!  My best was at the National Running Day run at a full minute below that!  23:19 was Garmin time for that one!  I’ll try to muster a lower time somewhere along the way but again, I’m more focused on the long haul and getting all 30 races done!

team zombieThe Woodville race was a lot of fun!  Beautiful sunshine and moderate temperatures helped to make the run quite special!  That along with the fact just a few days earlier, Woodville suffered a huge flood putting the entire set up (tents and all) under water!  6 plus inches of water hit our entire area and caused major flooding issues everywhere!  That being said, Woodville pulled off an excellent celebration in spite of Mother Nature’s smack!  Way to go Woodville…I’ll be back next year in my Pink socks to run that one again!

During this week I was able to get an address for our Pink Warrior Valory Newton!  I mailed a Run Zombie Run tank top to her so that she could feel the love that we Zombies have for her and know that we’re carrying her on every run!  Keep Fighting Valory!

Friends Tom and Dianna rock the limited edition "Run Zombie Run" tanks.

Friends Tom and Dianna rock the limited edition “Run Zombie Run” tanks.

I also managed to get a few tanks out to just a few running friends!  Don’t feel slighted if you didn’t get one…there will be a huge Long sleeved T-shirt event as we get closer to the magic #30 race!  Stay tuned on that one!  Anyway…I only had 20 of the tank tops and decided to switch the lettering to Pink in honor of all those fighting or surviving Cancer!  I called this my limited edition tank and added TeamValory on the back just below my Mobile Meals logo!  I’m so happy when I see these tanks on people and the smiles they have wearing them!  Thanks runners for helping me keep this show going!

As I’ve said before…I don’t have the exact date set yet for the 30th race.  I’m guessing by what I have (kind of) planned that it should hit somewhere in the late October or Early November time!  Fall is my most favorite time of year and I can’t tell you how awesome it feels knowing that I just might hit this 30 races target!  I’m forever thinking about when this started, how it started and how absolutely grateful I am for all the help and support I’ve received to make it just this far!  From the people who keep me held together physically…Becky at Massage Works…Doctor Odeh at Genoa Medical center, my lovely bride Karla Neeley…they’ve all been a huge part of my success!  Then there are all of you!  The ones that follow me on here and Facebook.  The wonderful people who believe in what I’m doing and have donated so much to Mobile Meals!  I just can’t believe how well this is going!  I promise to keep this going and never disappoint you!

I’ll get back with you after this Thursday’s race in Sylvania.  (The Ohio/Michigan 8K) I’ll post up my thoughts about the race, how I felt, my time and of course some pictures before and after!  More to come this month!  A couple of back to back runs in late July and then rolling right into a busy August!  This Summer is flying!

Be well my friends!  Keep moving and enjoying the sunshine!  Keep Valory in your thoughts and prayers!  We want her healthy and happy!  Keep following the Zombie and I’ll…See you on the road!


Running for others

While I always go out and enjoy each and every run, I feel even better (before, during and after) when there’s purpose!  I’ve found that my celebration of the 30 years I’ve been running has been one of the most fulfilling times in my life thus far!  I teamed up with Mobile Meals of Toledo to raise funds and awareness of hunger and the need to help feed those in need.  Along with this, I’ve had numerous people in my life come upon hard times.  Sickness and health issues seem to be hitting many that I care for.  While I’m unable to assist in their recovery first hand, I can bring attention, show compassion and care for them as a person.  I can let them know that they matter and that others think of them.

Valory Newton, from her public Facebook page

Valory Newton, from her public Facebook page

I’ll be running for a 9-year-old little girl this weekend and probably for several other races.  Valory Newton is fighting bone cancer at this time.  She’s lost a leg but continues to be a positive and loving little girl.  I want nothing more than for her to be able to feel better and live the life that so many of us enjoy.  My sister Gini Feller shared her story with me and asked that I dedicate some miles to her.  I will do so with great honor!  I’ll throw some pink into my wardrobe, place her name upon my arm and carry her as far as I possibly can!  Thank you so much Gini for bringing this to my attention and for asking me to share in her recovery.  Again, I’m honored.

Valory…I want you to focus on getting well!  I want you to stay strong and overcome this illness that’s come into your body.  I also want you to know that I care!  I want you to be able to dance again one day soon!

For those of you out there that run or walk, dedicate some miles to this beautiful little girl.  Visit her Facebook page:  Valory Fighting Dancer.  I think you’ll agree, she’s worth our attention!  I look forward to running this Sunday and just know that by having this young lady’s name on my arm I’ll run well!  I continue to run with purpose!  I will also continue to run for others!  My message today is simple…look beyond yourself, think of Valory, think of my friend Ann who continues her journey to become healthy again.  They need us and it’s our duty to help!

So get out there and run for others and I’ll see you on the road!