Stay Strong and Move Forward

daves10formike The first official race has been run!  The Dave’s 10 Miler turned out to be an absolutely perfect day!  Late January in NW Ohio and 60 degrees at race time?  Are you kidding me?  Karla and I both wore shorts and I had on a short sleeve shirt…Wow!  The 10 Miler is billed as the race that can give you anything from our 60 degree sun filled day to a full on blizzard!

When I ran this one in 2015…it was the only race that I seriously considered giving up on.  My mindset was that I was out there running with a purpose and I needed to stay strong and move forward – telling myself to never give up and never stop!  I won’t lie…it was the longest 10 miles of my life but the satisfaction of crossing the finish line washed all the negative away.  There will always be obstacles in our lives…we just need to roll through them because the finish will be sweet!

The next run up will be the Great Scott 25K.  It’s a Toledo Road Runner club event and can also be a challenge due to it being run in late February.  March is when things will get really busy!  I’m laying out a couple of 5K runs to go along with a couple of bigger runs!  We’ll have both the Black Swamp Festival of races (25K) and the Ann Arbor Half marathon (13.1).  Trying to keep the legs moving and focused on the big prize in April!  The Big Sur Full Marathon!  Just for kicks…we’ll be running the Glass City Half Marathon the week before the Big Sur Full!  Crazy you say?  I’m going with absolutely on that!  LOL!

Training has been going well and both Karla and I remain focused.  I’ve been getting my much-needed lifting days in each week which is helping a bunch.  I’m still carrying around my food journal and writing down what I eat each day.  I do allow myself one full day off of strict eating and usually enjoy a pizza after my long run then.  Something to look forward to after all the miles are run!

My sister Patti and I have been changing up our running routes to see different parts of Toledo – or at least parts that we haven’t run in quite some time.  I threw in both the High Level bridge and the Martin Luther King bridge on a couple of long runs.  Back in my old stomping grounds of the East side!  The High Level bridge seems so much smaller than I remember it…lol!  Maybe after running the Ravenel bridge in South Carolina a few times I’ve learned how big a bridge can really be!  That one is a monster!  I’ve been keeping away from too many “junk miles” so that I can keep myself healthy.  I have a regular issue with my right foot and want to keep it from acting up yet again this year.

The purpose this year is of course for BlackJack Animal Rescue!  I love my dogs and especially Catahoula Leopard Dogs!  Blackjack has had their hands full with the storms in the south, poor animal shelters and just people’s lack of care for animals.  If we can get funds to them and save more of the precious pups…the world just might be a better place!  Sharon Bryant and her band of warriors are always on the lookout for dogs to rescue.  They share these faces in their network and find foster care, get them fully vetted and ready for their forever homes!  It’s truly an awesome job they do and I’m honored to put my race shirt on and show the name BlackJack Animal Rescue on my back!  Please like and follow them on Facebook. To offer a donation just go to Blackjackrescue.org.  You can make a one time donation or set up a recurring monthly amount.  All donations are tax deductible as well…so double bonus!mikesraceshirt

Stay with me…we have much more to come!  I’ll update you on training and such during February.  March we’ll be “Bringing it”!  Getting ready for the final push before we roll into April…so stay tuned!

You know what I’m going to tell you now.  Stay active!  Go walk, run, bike, lift weights…whatever you want – just move!  The human body was built and designed for motion!  Drop one bad habit in your eating or set yourself a challenge to walk a 5K by a certain date.  Be proud of yourself and keep going!  I’m always around if you need a kick in the pants…lol!  Until then…

I’ll see you on the ROAD!

~Zombie~

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Find a way…or Make one!

It just feels, as life moves forward, that there’s less and less time to get things done.  I was sitting down to go over races that I’ve signed up for and others that I’ve expressed interest in for the 2017 running season.  Fitting a large mileage race in each month of the year has proved to be challenging.  Take into consideration my all over the place work schedule (that can change at any moment) along with general life scheduling…it gets tough.  There’s marathon training to fit inside all of this and the hopes that I can stay healthy!  The mind set is…”Find a way…or Make one”!

This week has been tough to get the miles that I keep hoping for due mostly to a lack of sleep.  I’ve never been much of a sleeper and when I do get to sleep, I seem to be getting only a few hours…Stella decides I need to be awake and walk her around Oregon.  I never get mad at her because it’s her release and she just wants to stretch her legs and be with me.  Yet there’s still the part of me that says “how the hell am I going to get through the day on a few hours of sleep”!  We’re working on that…Stella and I!  (Note: Stella is my 2 year old Catahoula Leopard Dog)stellaDogs…once again I realized this week why I started this adventure.  Texting back and forth with Sharon Bryant (who runs BlackJack Animal Rescue), I was expressing my sadness when looking through some of the links that I’ve been introduced to through social media to different animal shelters in southern states.  I have to tell you all…it’s an eye opening problem down there!  Most of these shelters are nothing more than killing machines!  Corruption and money grabbing that leaves so many animals to die.  Sharon has been fighting this battle for some time and with the help of her small army, they do everything they can to save as many dogs as possible.  Texas, Louisiana, North Carolina and Tennessee all have high percentage kill shelters!  In Sharon’s words “The Catahoula Leopard dog is considered a dime a dozen in several states”.  Backyard breeders sell what they can of litters and then just dump the remaining puppies at a shelter, knowing full well they’ll likely be killed.  This has got to stop!  Sharon is very organized and, as I said, has a small army of very dedicated people that want the shelters to become “NO KILL”!  It can be done and they have the volunteers to make it happen.  The hurdle of politicians is the uphill battle.  I will continue to work to bring attention to BlackJack Animal Rescue and would love for everyone who reads this to “like” their Facebook page, follow along and share when they are in need!  Donations are a must and very appreciated!  This rescue relies on good people to keep up their efforts to save more animals and get them to good homes.  If we are to spend money, why not do it to make the world a better place?  Dogs and cats can absolutely change your life and make a home complete.  If you can’t adopt, volunteer to help transport animals from one state to the next!  Become part of a network that saves these beautiful animals!  Donate on a monthly basis or give a nice donation so that this fight can continue!  I’ll be working on getting more things together as the year progresses.  A virtual 5K is in the works (more on that later).  T-shirts are currently available on Blackjackrescue.org and all monies go to save animals.  I’ll also be looking into doing some kind of t-shirt or magnets for the Run Zombie Run part in this!  Help where you can and make me proud!

15977693_10208297764623740_4723280493295590567_nSunday is the Dave’s 10 Miler!  It starts at 2 p.m. and looks to be pretty good weather this year for what can be a very crazy event weather-wise!  I’ll be putting on my new Run Zombie Run racing shirt for the very first time Sunday and will represent BlackJack Animal Rescue with honor!  https://runsignup.com/Race/OH/Delta/Daves10Miler?remMeAttempt=  Feel free to come on out and ring some cow bells!  Runners love Cow Bells!!  LOL!!
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I’ll keep working on my training and finding a way to get everything done!  Forge ahead…progress!  Keep tuned in and please, take a look at BlackJack Animal Rescue on Facebook!  We’re almost to 5,000 likes…so get on there…Like and share!  Then go outside and play!!

I’ll see you on the road!

~Zombie~

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!

~Zombie~

What an Amazing Journey so far!

pete at bostonI really can’t believe all the events of late.  I’ll have to back up a little here.  First thing I wanted to touch on…my brother in law Pete.  I had sent him one of my run zombie run shirts some time back and asked that he wear it to Boston.  (yes…the biggest race in the country Boston!)  I just wanted him to get some cool pictures in the city and such and then post them on Run Zombie Run’s Facebook wall.  Well he really got me!  Not only did he wear the shirt but he ran the race in it!  When I received the text from my sister-in-law showing him both during the run and after with his medal on wearing that shirt…I was brought to tears.  I can’t even describe how much emotion such a run evokes in a runner.  I sat there looking at the pictures in amazement!  Really, thank you to Pete for doing something that may seem so small but meant so much!  He’s a class act!

I was recognized at work for the work that I’ve been doing and nominated for employee of the month.  I’m not much for things like this but was so thrilled that they mentioned the whole 30 races, runzombierun.net and even Mobile Meals of Toledo!  That was huge for me!  I’ve said before and will continue to say it…”It’s not all about me.”  This is about celebration and bringing funds as well as awareness to a great outfit (Mobile Meals!)

The next big thing…contacted by the Toledo Blade to do an article about the run zombie run journey!  Wow!!  I had to step way out of my comfort zone for this one.  I did a phone interview with Taylor Dungjen and it was great!  She had a ton of good questions and shared how she enjoyed running at Pearson Park as well.  She’s currently expecting a child (congrats!) and is having a hard time with the running thing but I just know that she’ll find her way back to it.

So we had the interview and then had to meet with a photographer at Pearson Park for pictures.  I never look right in running photos!  LOL!!  The whole things took just a few minutes of me running back and forth for the shots.  It’s not like I don’t enjoy running!

When the article hit…it hit big!  Right on the day of the Glass City Marathon!  Holy Cow!!  It made the 2nd section of the paper and I was just blown away by the finished product.  I was so inspired by the article that I turned in my fastest time in a Half Marathon ever!!  1:56:00!  The day was sunny, cool and just perfect!  It was such an amazing feeling!  I then received info showing that more people had gone and donated to Mobile Meals that day!  Seriously…how can it get any better?!proceeds to mobile meals

I’m so thrilled to keep this going!  Race #14 will be this Sunday at Pearson Park…the place where I became a runner some 30 years ago!  It holds a special place in my heart and I’ve spent many hours running those trails.  Race #15 will be 5/16 at the Toledo Zoo (The Dart Frog Dash) and then the following morning here in Oregon will be #16 the Oregon Fest 5K!  5/17.  Not much more than going around the block to start that race!  Race #17 will be a little south Bowling Green, Ohio for the Falcon 5 Miler!  We’ll wrap up the month with Race #18 Race to the monument.  If I can keep this pace, I should rock these 30 races out early!  I guess that’ll mean that I have to do more…lol!

Now lets all get out there and enjoy this sunshine!  Take a walk, ride your bike, go for a run…hell…just move a bit!  Summer is just around the corner!  Stay with me and keep pushing me!  I love the enthusiasm!  Keep Mobile Meals in mind as well…we love those people!  Be good to each other and I’ll see you on the road!

Zombie

Build up to the “Big Race”

(It's true.)

(It’s true.)

Well here we are in the middle of April already and I’m wondering how we got here so quick!  The races have been coming fast and furious!  11 are now completed and number 12 will be this Saturday in Grand Rapids, Ohio.  The Run to the Rapids 5K!  I may schedule one last long run on the day following that race.  Prep and build up for The Glass City Marathon/Half Marathon!!  I’ll be running the Half…because running a full with all the things I have going right now would be…well….just crazy!!  I really enjoyed the Glass City last year.  Beautiful course, hometown and a wonderful party after the races are complete at the University of Toledo!  I urge anyone and everyone in the area to please come out for this event!  I’d love to see “Zombies” out on the course and signs are encouraged!  All runners love having people line the courses with cheering, clapping, noise makers and signs!  It helps to make the miles go easier and is always a mental boost! The following link has all the course maps if you’re interested in coming out! http://glasscitymarathon.org/glass-city-marathon-race-info/glass-city-marathon-course-maps/

As I stated before, my sister Patti will be running the half and my other sister from Florida is coming in to do the Half as well.  My wife Karla will be running as part of a team from her work called the “unfortunate soles!”  lmao!!  My sister Gini might be there doing the 5K with her besty!  So you see…you all need to be there and see just how much fun this event really is!

Injury update.  I’m still nursing this hamstring injury and my guess is I’ll continue to nurse it as I don’t have the time to stop and let it completely rest/heal.  I’m doing my best to keep my strides shorter, using the foam roller and have scheduled massages after each long race.  Once I’ve completed 30 races…I’ll take a little time off and let the body heal completely.  For now…it’s full speed ahead!  My original plan was to lose a couple of pounds (and I have) work on my speed and try to PR at the Glass City.  My best time to date was in Florida where I turned in a 1:57:29!  I was hoping to meet or beat that time here on the home turf!  I still plan on giving it a go even with the hamstring issue.  I feel that if I keep my stride short and keep pushing, I can best that time!  I’ll take most of the week before the race to rest.  Just a couple very short hops in the morning to keep things moving.  Send that positive mojo!!

Coming into the warmer months the races tend to get shorter in distance.  Probably going to do a few 5K races in May!  I’ll post more information on those as I get signed up.

On a sad note, I was just reading an article on my running groups page the other day about a 32 yr. old Mother of 3 that passed away just steps from completing a half marathon.  Every time I read stories like this, it reminds me of how lucky and blessed I’ve been to be able to enjoy this sport for so many years.  I take something from each and every run and hold it in my heart.  My thoughts and prayers go out to this young mother’s family.  I will continue to run and carry those people who can run no longer.

Nice weather is upon us so get outside and enjoy!  April 26th is the date of the “Big Race” here in T-Town! It will be the Lucky #13 race!! Come on out and enjoy the party!  Cheer on these athletes that have trained for months to cross that finish line!

I’ll see you on the road!

Zombie

March wrap up and onward!

Well, lots of challenges during the month of March as expected!  The races during the month were:

The Run for PI (3.14)

The Great Black Swamp Festival of Races (25K)

The Wearing of the Green (7K)

Gibsonburg Golden Bear (10K)

The Ann Arbor Half Marathon (13.1)

All of these races were fun, challenging and at times…down right tough!  The Run for PI almost finished my hamstring…Thank God for Becky at Massage Works!  The Black Swamp was cold, windy and gray. 😦  The Wearing of the green was chilly too but at least the sun came out to visit!  Gibsonburg…flat course but wide open to the wind…brrrrr!!  Ann Arbor was chilly but had no wind. The start of the race had everyone from the 5K, 10K, 13.1 and 26.2 starting together at the same time!

Me and my sister at the Ann Arbor Half Marathon. Did I mention it was chilly?

Me and my sister at the Ann Arbor Half Marathon. Did I mention it was chilly?

A little cramped for my liking during the first mile…lol!  The roads in Michigan sucked!  Thank goodness the sights were amazing!  I enjoyed them all and I’m excited to keep the streak alive!  My brother-in-law Pete Schwanke ran his 92nd…yep…I said that right…92nd FULL MARATHON at Ann Arbor!  He’s set to break 100 Full marathons this year!  He’s returning this year to Boston where I’m sure he’ll do well.  He was just cruising along in Ann Arbor and clocked a 3:25 for the 26.2 hop!  Always amazed by people who can just crack out miles like that and never look tired.  Amazing!  Congrats to Pete and here’s to many more marathons in your future!

Today, April 1st is the first “Virtual Race” in my series.  A virtual race is one that you at times, pick a distance and a date to complete it by, do your run, save your time on your Garmin and turn into those holding the race.  Kind of an honor system.  My sister and I will be running the RunJunkEes “Mind Your Manners” race.  I’ve chosen to do the 10K distance (6.2 miles).  The money paid goes to kidpower.  Helping to stop bullying and bring more awareness to the problem.  They’ve already sent my completion medal but I refuse to open it up until I’ve finished the run!  I’ll post pictures of it and post on my Facebook wall after the run.  Perfect day for a run today so I’m very excited about getting out there!  I may just have to go past the 6.2 mile mark and do a few extra…just because it’s beautiful!!

I’m looking at running the Run to the Rapids in Grand Rapids, Ohio about mid month and the big one…The Glass City will be at the end of April!  I’m not sure that my hamstring will allow me to push for that PR I was hoping for during the Glass city half marathon..but you can bet your bottom dollar, I’ll cross that finish line!!  Cross your fingers and send some good vibes…I’d really like to smoke that one and PR!  My sister Leanna will be coming into town to run the Glass City and my sister Patti will of course be there too!  Patti is turning into a real threat in her age division!  Her times are placing her at the top of the group in most races.  She doesn’t care so much about the times but I’m proud of her none the less!

A lot of people have asked about Karla.  She’s able to get out and run on a more regular basis!  yay!!  She’s been very good and taking it easy.  Her main goal this year is to keep away from the injury bug and run the Smoky Mountain Half Marathon with Patti and I this September.  She was so sad when she became injured last year and couldn’t run it.  I just know she’ll be good and we’ll get to enjoy the 3 musketeers once again!

I want to take this time to really thank all of you that have believed in me.  The wonderful emails and text messages have kept me so fired up!  The outpouring of enthusiasm and support for Mobile Meals of Toledo has been humbling.  I’ve asked people to give of their money for a charity that I believe so much in and you have!  I’m just amazed…Thank you so much!  I’ll keep going and I’ll keep talking about the races and Mobile Meals!  Visit their website http://mobilemeals.org/ and look through the things they do on a regular basis.  If you have extra time, volunteer!  If you want to donate to help, you can do so on their website or at runzombierun.net!  They even have a spot on their website under donate for run zombie run!  Yay!!  That way they know you were touched by something that I may have said or done.  I receive nothing for any of this (as far as compensation).  I do however get the biggest thrill knowing we’re making a difference!  That’s really what it’s all about!

Enjoy the sunshine today and I’ll see you on the road!

Zombie

Moving past the setbacks

The idea of running these 30 races continues to amaze me at times.  Believe me, I’ve questioned my sanity a few times!  My main goal is to FINISH each and every race!  Spoiler alert…I may just run more than 30!  I have the mind-set and a great cause.  Mobile Meals of Toledo!  I remember the first meeting with them and saying “I just hope that I can raise some kind of money to make a difference.”  I was told then and there…anything you do will be appreciated!  They won me over with that statement!  They believed in me more than I believed in me!  How is that possible??  I can never express in words how much I appreciate people like the ones that run Mobile Meals of Toledo and all of the wonderful volunteers that help get people the food they need on a daily basis!  This includes my wonderful wife.  Always thinking of others…just amazing!  I will continue this journey through the entire year of 2015!  I will continue to do local races and even venture to a few other states!  You’ll see my bright RunZombieRun shirt in each and every run!  I’m on a mission to make a difference!  “Running with a purpose!”

The race this last weekend (Run for Super PI) was an awesome event!  Props to Tom Silva and Dianna Ashton…along with many others for organizing a top-notch event!  Without your passion for this sport…what kind of races would we have to run?!  Keep up the fine work and I’ll keep showing up!

The race was wonderful but my hamstring decided that I finished the last 1/4 mile a bit too fast.  I’ve been fighting off a couple different small injuries and the hamstring really sent a message after the PI run.  I’m here to tell you…message was received!  I have too much riding on these races and I need to keep the focus on finishing…put my pride and desire to fly in a little box for now and just keep from blowing something apart!  I keep thinking that I’m still young…lol!  The body reminds me that I’m not “that” young anymore.  The sore tendons in the foot have settled down and I’ve managed to get the hamstring loose.  Daily rolling on a foam roller and stretching have helped a bunch.  Advil and some rest are doing their part too.  I did a light 3 mile run at the park yesterday and felt pretty good.  I’m taking today off and will do another short run tomorrow.  With a full weekend of races, I need to keep it calm.  No worrying about PR’s!  Thinking of my PR could land me in the ER!  hee hee!!

So to any that want to follow this weekend.  http://www.davesraces.com/ Here is the link to Saturday’s run The Great Black Swamp Festival of races!  Patti and I will be running the 25K and expect to be on the road for about 2 1/2 hours…give or take.  A map along with the start and finish are all listed on this site.  Sunday will be the Wearin of the Green!  This will be held at Maumee Bay State Park in Oregon, Ohio!  (My backyard)  Looks to be a cold start but lots of sunshine! http://www.imathlete.com/events/EventOverview.aspx?fEID=19995  There is the link for that race.

Spring is trying to get here!  Whatever you decide to do…make sure you keep moving!  Don’t let any setbacks stop your vision or passion!  Get out and be inspired!  You never know who’s watching…you just may inspire someone else and how cool would that be?!  See you on the road!

Zombie

As always…you can donate on my website runzombierun.net.  It is a direct link to Mobile Meals of Toledo!  They even placed a runzombierun spot on the Mobile Meals of Toledo webpage!  Anything and everything are always appreciated!