The Race I Love To Hate!

January running in N.W. Ohio can be a challenge…I think we’d all agree there.  A particular race that is always scheduled around the third week in January (The Dave’s 10-miler) is said to be the race that can give you blizzard conditions or 65 and sunny…lol!  I’m here to tell you that it’s very true and I’ve experienced both…several times now.

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I signed up for the 10-miler, scheduled for Sunday, January, 19th this year.  Mother nature was not messing around!  This race starts at 2 p.m., which this year was a very good thing.  We had a major storm roll through the day prior that dropped 4-5 inches of snow, which then turned to freezing rain and then rain.  Temperatures steadily dropped until they reached sub-zero during the overnight (the night before the race).  Winds of course had to be a factor and cranked up.  This was both good, because it cleared the moisture off the road, but also bad because it kept the temperatures in the single digit range all through the run.

My lovely bride and I got to the race, picked up the bib/shirt packet and prepped for the start of my run.  I was originally scheduled to start at 1:30 p.m., a full half-hour before the regular start as I’ve been doing mostly run walking and have just been working my way back up to higher mileage.  2019 was a nasty year for my body and I had concerns of not being able to finish all 10 miles.  Once I had my bib in place, we headed out looking for the starting line.  In true Robert Neeley fashion, I never checked inside the school to see where exactly the starting line was at.  In prior years, this race was run from a different school, so it had an all new starting line.  Once we realized we had no idea where the starting line was, we found a friendly runner that gave us a heads up on where to go.  By the time we reached the start line, it was 10 minutes past my 1:30 p.m. start.  The starting line dude gave me the choice of taking off on my own or starting at 2:00 p.m. with the regular race people.  I opted for the 2:00 p.m. start so I’d have people to follow…lol!

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Just walking back and forth between the car and the starting line let me know that this was going to be a serious challenge.  My face quickly became numb from the cold and once again, I had doubt running through my body.  Once the rest of the runners came outside and packed together for the race, I realized I had to make the best of this.  Along with that, I had promised numerous friends and family members that I would represent them during this race. My Pink Warriors!  Women that are currently fighting or have fought through breast cancer.  This disease has plagued so many around me…I needed to get out there and do this, carry them and remember how they’re fighting.

Once I got rolling, I realized quickly that my face and eyes were going to be an issue throughout the run.  My eyes watered steadily during the first mile or so due to the heavy winds.  I’m one of those people that is unable to cover my mouth/nose area when I run.  I so wish I could, but I tend to panic when they’re covered.  Most of my body felt pretty good and I felt like I’d prepared my clothing well enough.  The wind was just freezing!  Thank goodness the roads were clear and not until later in the race did we get any kind of snow.  The first 5 miles went pretty good.  I slowed a little during mile 6 and when I reached mile 7, my knees were just cold.  The joints in my body felt like they were seizing up and it was hard to keep a steady pace.  I decided then to start alternating my walk/run routine.  I had to be careful with the extreme cold not to let my body get too cold during the walking portion.  I only allowed myself shorter walks to stay as warm as possible.  I was lucky enough to have my best cheerleader (Karla) find me several times on the course and gift me with a kiss each time.  By around mile 9 I was really cold and my skin felt burnt.  This was again one of those moments that you have to find something inside of you that says “Don’t quit!”  I once again reflected on the many women that I’d come here to run for and how much they’d been through.  I truly believe that running is something that comes to you easier when you’re doing it for someone else. (Running with purpose) I pushed on, found Karla once again, walked with her for a short stretch and then ran the final 1/4 mile into the finish line.  What I found waiting at the finish made everything worth while.  My good friend Martha Shearman, one of the Pink Warriors was waiting there with my medal and the greatest hug you could ever ask for after running such an awful race.  This made it all worth while.  Thank you Martha for being an amazing person…you’re a bright spot in this world for sure!

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The drive home was a cold one…lol!  Karla and I had the heat cranked up and the seat warmers cranked full blast all the way!  Pizza was on tap for the evening, along with some down time with family.  I couldn’t ask for a better way to end my day.

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Remember that we all have moments of wanting to quit…don’t! Whatever the problem, give it your best!  Find whatever it is inside of you that won’t let you give up and hold it tightly!  When you struggle, I’ve got you!

 

Future Plans

 

I’m currently looking over race schedules and trying to decide what I want to take a chance on.  I love the Black Swamp Festival of races in March and might give the 15K a go this year.  I’m signed up for the Glass City Full Marathon and look forward to completing that for the first time ever.  I’ve been going to the gym on a more regular basis and watching my food intake.  So far, so good.  No major issues with the body as of yet, but I’ve changed up how I train…hoping that keeps me injury free!

Don’t let the Winter stop you or slow you down.  There are many things that you can doing during these months.  I’m not a fan of indoor cardio but will on occasion jump on the Stairmaster…I don’t recommend it unless you enjoy torture…lmao!  Getting outside and just walking on a Winter day can be just as much fun as in the warmer months.  It’s just a matter of wearing the right gear.  If you have questions or need tips on what I train in while walking, just shoot me a message and I’ll let you know.  I find it very peaceful during the Winter…good time to reflect on life.

Thanks for following along and I’ll be sure to do another blog entry soon!  As always…

I’ll see you on the road!

~Zombie~

New Year With New Challenges

So here we are, the year 2020.  Like most people, the end of a year brings reflection, with reflection brings to mind all the things that went right in 2019 and the not so right.  The amazing adventures, the sights, the accomplishments and surviving difficulties.  If I were to say that 2019 sucked, that would be a very generalized and knee jerk response. There was plenty to love about 2019 (we’ll save that for another blog though.) The truth of it is that 2019 had set backs for me physically.  I struggled with my running right at the beginning of the year.  Numerous body parts were giving me problems.  I tried to get back to the gym and get stronger and that led to an injury that would sideline my running for many weeks.  It also brought about a fight with pneumonia.  The whole while I was going through this, I began to wonder if I’d ever step to the starting line of another race as a runner.

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I recovered from my injuries and went to the West Coast to do the Big Sur 21-miler with my bride.  I anticipated walking, but found the runner in me was in need of showing up…at least for a little while.  I gave my wife all that I had to finish that race and walked away content.  Knee and calf problems plagued my training  pretty much anytime I attempted to run distance.  I decided to keep myself healthy and continue to train as a walker.  Walking kept me sane and I found a new love for something I’d looked upon as failing while being a “runner”.  There is no failing as long as you’re moving.  Starting something and completing the task is what’s important.  This was a good lesson for me and a welcome one.  By the end of 2019 I’d covered over 1,600 miles via walking and running.  There is no quit in this body, only adapting to whatever life throws my way.

This brings us back to the now…2020 and what challenges I’ve set myself up for.  I’m currently back to the gym, I’ve dug out my journal for monitoring food intake and have found that I’m able to run again.  I’m cautious and hopeful that with time and training, I’ll be able to knock out the events I’ve signed up for in good form.

My personal goals are as follows:

  1. Drop some weight. (the body functions better when it’s leaner and you’re feeding it properly.  I have a better chance of staying injury free if I’m not crushing my frame)
  2. Finish multiple marathons this year.  I know what you’re thinking…I said I’d never run another marathon…lol!  My wife reminds me of this on a regular basis (sorry Honey)  I feel that I have unfinished business and something to prove.  Not to anyone else, just myself.  I’m 53 years old and still think that I can achieve anything I put my mind/body to.  The marathon is a serious challenge to all aspects of your life. It demands work, work on all levels, and I’m ready to do it!
  3. Allow myself to walk. If you see someone on a race course walking, it doesn’t make them any less of a runner/athlete.  This is part of my reflection from 2019.  I can walk if and when needed and still cross the finish line.  My medal will look the same, shirt will have the same wording on it, and my body just might feel a bit better getting the break.
  4. Give everything I have at every moment to achieve true happiness.  Nothing more needs to be said with that.

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Some of the challenges that are already on the calendar.  Utah/Zion Half Marathon! We were scheduled to run this in 2019, but I decided to screw up the plans by breaking.  We deferred to 2020 and on Leap Year (February 29th) Karla and I will step to the starting line of what should be a beautiful half marathon.  This is a state we’ve not been to and have plans to go out early and do some hiking in the park prior to race day.  Yippee!

The Glass City Marathon!  The home town streets are calling me and while I’ve been in this event over the years, I’ve never claimed a medal for doing the entire Full Marathon.  So in my 35th year of running, I’m finally going after that bling!  There’s a 6 hour cut off for the course, so I’m going to have to work hard to get myself in shape for a finish.  Challenge accepted!

The Dayton Air Force Base Marathon.  I walked this course with my sisters some 20 years ago.  Leanna, Patti and I finished it in 6:09…again, 20 years ago exactly…come September.  My sister Gini and I went back a year or so later and walked it again!  This race holds a special place in my heart and I have nothing but great memories with all of my siblings out there.  I can think of no better race to go and celebrate our lives together than this one.  It will be a walk/run mix and the object is to just have fun!

I’m eyeballing a few other local events, but will save all that for another blog entry.  I know my stepping away has probably lost me some support, but I wanted to get back on here and let everyone know that Zombie still lives!  The RunZombieRun title is still something I’m very proud of.

So, what does 2020 have in store for you?  What is it that you feel you need to go after?  I’m always listening and willing to have chats with anyone that is in need.  I’m hopeful that by me getting back on here and sharing, it’ll motivate some of you to step up and challenge yourself this year.  Find that inner child and just get after it!

I’ll continue to post on my RunZombieRun Facebook page, post pictures on Instagram and I’ll be better about doing blog entries…lol!  I also would ask that you all hold me accountable for staying after these goals.  If you see me, let me know you’re watching…lol!  (Stalker) If I know others are cheering along, it just makes the whole thing a touch sweeter.

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~

 

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~

 

Running For Rescue Dogs

For those of you that know me well, I’m a huge fan of dogs!  Well, pets in general but I prefer my pups more than anything.  When setting out to begin my 2017 year of running I wanted to make a difference in the world of Dog Rescues.  My choice was to team up with BlackJack Animal Rescue out of Tennessee.  They’re the people who found Stella and once I got to know their story, I had to step up my game.15823162_10208205482236738_934814482490240172_n

Blackjack Animal Rescue is a small group of people out of the Bristol, TN area (and beyond) that are doing everything they can to make a change in the lives of dogs.  The work hours are long and the job can be overwhelming at times.  The southern states especially seem to have problems getting these dogs into homes.  At times, it seems easier and more cost-effective to just put the animals down.  This doesn’t sit well with the owner/operator of Blackjack Rescue Sharon Bryant.  She sees dogs (especially Catahoula Leopard Dogs) the same as I do, amazing spirits that want nothing more than to be with humans.  The soul of a dog is special and Sharon, along with her team of angels work tirelessly to save as many dogs as they can and find them good homes.  The average adoption fee is $300 but let me tell you, this covers the animal being fully vetted, micro-chipped and usually transport to just about anywhere!  The fee also helps to cover the never-ending costs of maintaining all the animals in foster care but also helps to save more dog’s lives.

After getting to know Sharon more and seeing all the faces that she works to bring back to health, train, foster and eventually get homes, I knew I had to step up and help.  I’ve been working on bringing awareness of this population problem and lack of help in the southern states as well as raise funds through my running of races, blogging and regular postings on Facebook.  The hope is to get extra donations to this amazing outfit so that they can turn the tide of killing these animals.  I’ve reached out to the running community, co-workers, friends and family to assist in my efforts.   http://blackjackrescue.org/ is the website and they have a paypal system set up so that you can do either a one time donation or a regular monthly one!  If you prefer to mail checks, just send one off to Blackjack Animal Rescue 260 Old Stage Trail Bristol, TN 37620.  There’s also a wish list on the website if you’d like to help with food, toys, bedding or a Thundershirt!  Yes, I did donate a new Thundershirt to the rescue this year so that some wonderful pup would feel safer during storms.  Everything is tax-deductible as Blackjack is a 501c3 non-profit organization.

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Stella (right) and her cousins Goose (bottom) and Cooper (top left) are all BlackJack Rescue dogs!

I have a little more that I need to share about rescue dogs and what they can do for your life.  This being my own story.  I had an Aussie Shepherd/Catahoula mixed dog (Silver) that was part of my life for a very long time.  He lived to be 17 years old and was my world.  When Silver passed, I realized that I had a hole in my heart that only a dog could fill.  I hated coming home to an empty house and missed that wagging tail at the end of my work day or upon any return home.

I started my search locally and eventually found Blackjack Animal Rescue.  They specialize in Catahoula Leopard dogs, so I decided to keep watching the intake and hoped for another silver.  I contacted Sharon and told her my story which in turn prompted her to start sending my pictures of so many beautiful dogs!  I just couldn’t believe all these adorable speckled pups were in need of a home.  Well it happened, she notified me of a dog that was running loose on an expressway and was brought in by a member of her group.  She was a bit skinny, no tags, not fixed but pretty much healthy.  She sent pictures to me of “Stella”.  I just knew I had to have her.  We were heading for the TN area for vacation and made arrangements to meet Stella at a local dog park.  Wow!  She was not only beautiful but so playful and full of love.  Needless to say…the rest is history!  A couple of years later Stella is living the good life here in Ohio with us and my heart is once again full.

While she’s not Silver, she brought all new and exciting things to our home.  Stella is scared of the back yard (long story) so she requires regular walks just to go potty.  This means that Karla and I have to walk the neighborhood 3 or more times in a day.  While at first it seemed like craziness, it’s turned into a blessing in disguise.  We’ve met numerous people in our neighborhood and have become good friends with them. (Thanks Stella) We’re walking and getting more exercise than ever before. (Thanks Stella) We’re able to spread the word about Blackjack Animal Rescue and teach people more about the Catahoula Leopard dog! (Thanks again Stella)  You see, as Cesar Millan once said “You’ll never get the dog that you want, You’ll always get the dog that you need.”  I needed Stella in my life and she’s changed it forever.  Keep this in mind if/when looking at rescue dogs.  They’ll bring more to you then you’ll ever be able to give to them.  They want nothing more than to be loved by you and be with you.stella

I needed to share this so that more people will understand how important dogs are in our world.  I also want more people to get involved and help rescue these special animals.  We have several great dog rescues in our area that can always use help.  I’d love to see more people help me with our friends in the south.  They need us up here in NW Ohio!  We need to bring more Catahoula Leopard dogs this way.  We need to save lives that are being snuffed out at an alarming rate at the high kill shelters in Texas, Louisiana, Virginia, Georgia, Tennessee.  So please, take some time to get to know Blackjack Animal Rescue.  Like them on Facebook and follow along!  Donate and save a life!  I need you to help me make this happen.  Runners…it’s time to shine.  We can do this…Together.mikesraceshirt

I’ll see you on the Road!

~Zombie~

The Big Push!

Hey out there my fellow Zombies!!

Once again I find myself having to apologize for not getting on here and blogging enough.  (Sorry Marilyn. :))  Whenever I find a moment that I think I should blog, I end up dozing off due to training, work and just getting through a nasty Spring Crud!  I’m feeling better, took a little time away from work and finding myself in the home stretch for my Bucket List race!  The Big Sur 2017!!!

Big Sur by Rod Jones Photography; creative commons

Just to bring everyone up to speed…the whole idea was brought about from having conversations with my brother-in-law who has run a marathon in all 50 states (and D.C.).  I posed the question at some point…”What race stays fresh in your mind that you feel was your favorite?”  Now mind you this man has been to the Grand Daddy of them all …BOSTON!  His response was pretty quick : “The Big Sur out in California.”  He stated that the entire course was beautiful and he never got bored running it.  I researched the race and found that it was done on a lottery system to get in.  In other words…you put your name in a hat and hope for the best!  Well, after several failed attempts to get in…Karla and I both found ourselves with emails stating that we had been chosen to participate in the 2017 Full Marathon at Big Sur!  I almost cried when I received the email…lol!  Then I found myself thinking: I’ll have to start training for a race that I swore I’d never do again…the Full Marathon (26.2 miles).

Karla joined Dave’s Running shop’s Marathon In Training group and with my schedule decided that I’d have to wing it!  We both decided that this race is all about the fun and beauty that the California coastline has to offer.  No worrying about times other than beating the “sweeper” that scoops you off the course if you can’t make it to the finish within the 6 hour cut off.  So that’s the goal…to Finish The Damn Race!

Training has been going fairly well and no major injuries have crept up to bite me at this time.  I’ve completed just over 20 miles as my longest run -with some walking involved- and felt pretty good.  It took me 3 hours and 55 minutes which still leaves room for the final 6 miles while also taking into consideration the hills!  We have a plan to walk all the major hills to keep energy in reserve and take advantage of all declines with a nice easy pace.  Like I said before…this is all about finishing!

Running the Great Scott 25K with Karla

Ann Arbor Half Marathon Finishers!

I’ve been keeping up with my pledge to run at least a 10 mile run for each month thus far.  January was the Dave’s 10 miler, February was the Great Scott 25K, March we had a couple big runs and I threw in a couple smaller runs just for kicks.  The Great Black Swamp 25K was followed by the wearing of the Green 5K on the following day. The next weekend it was the Gibsonburg 10K and the following day we drove up to Ann Arbor for the Half Marathon there.  Ann Arbor has some challenging inclines and helped us prepare a little for California.  Now we’re in April and have plans to run the Glass City Half Marathon just one week prior to our Full Marathon out West.  Maybe a little crazy but hey…WTF!

Stella (right) and her cousins Goose (bottom) and Cooper (top left) are all BlackJack Rescue dogs!

So now to the Big Push part.  I’d really like to make a BIG Splash during the next couple weeks and get some sponsors/donors to pledge some money to Black Jack Rescue.  The whole reason I wanted to do these races this year was to bring more attention to a very small and loving outfit that works tirelessly to save dogs.  Catahoula Leopard Dogs in particular!  They’re based out of Tennessee but branch all across the country.  They save dogs out of some of the toughest states.  Texas, Louisiana, Georgia, Tennessee, Virginia and more are all full of shelters that will not keep dogs for very long.  Which means they’re put to sleep on a regular basis.  Just typing this makes me feel kind of sick.  Blackjack has a network of people who work to find these dogs, pull them to safety, get their health needs addressed, put them into foster care and then find them a forever home.  The challenges are many and great but they continue to do great things!  So please take a moment to like their Facebook page and send a few bucks via paypal or even snail mail!  I’d be thrilled if everyone reading this would just take $5.00 and send it to them.  The difference we can make as a group is huge!  Tell BlackJack Rescue that you want to make a donation because you’re a Zombie Supporter!  Call it a sponsorship for our big runs this month!  If you’d like to send a check…make it out to BlackJack Animal Rescue and send it to 260 Old Stage Trail Bristol, TN 37620.  Sharon Bryant is the Angel that makes this all possible and I want to see her continue to save these pups!  Pass this information onto your friends and family.  Like I said…$5.00 multiplied by many can change the lives of so many animals.  They’re worth it for all the joy they bring to our lives!  I can tell you first hand because my Stella is a BlackJack Alumni and she brings me joy on a daily basis!  My sister Patti has two from BlackJack…(Goose and Cooper).  I’m sure I can speak for her and tell you that they’re her world.

I’ll keep doing what I do and try to bring more attention and donations to BlackJack Animal Rescue.  I’ll do it by wearing my Run Zombie Run race shirts to the races with BlackJack on the back!  So come on Zombies…let’s do this!  April needs to be a huge month for our peeps!  Let’s see some local donations showing that you care about the Run Zombie Run group and want to see us crush the Glass City Half Marathon!  Let’s see some donations come in for the challenge that Karla and I have stepped up to run: a Full Marathon on the West Coast!

I need help Zombies, because I can’t do it alone.  If you make a donation and want to post a little something on Blackjack Animal Rescue’s Facebook page…go for it!  Say “hey…I love what you’re doing and I want to make a difference!”  Tell them Zombie sent you…lol!  Sharon will smile over that!

As always…get outside and play!  Walk, Run, Bike, Swim…just move!  I’ll see you on the road!

~Zombie~