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~

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What the heck…it’s Spring!

So we’ve managed to knock out the Great Scott 25K in the month of February.  For those keeping score it was a no snow kind of month and I loved it!  We’re now in March and have picked off the PI run (3.14 miles…lol!), the Great Black Swamp Festival of races happened on Saturday 3/18 (25K) and that was followed by a 5K at Maumee Bay State Park on 3/19.  Busy week and this next weekend looks to be much the same.  I’ll be heading out to Gibsonburg to take on the Golden Bear 10K…back home for a quick shower and heading up north for packet pick up to do the Ann Arbor Half Marathon on Sunday morning.  The weather looks on the damp side for both races (my least favorite) but it’ll get done!

For some odd reason I really enjoy the Ann Arbor Half.  It’s a tough course and feels mostly like an incline, the streets are a bit rough (it is Michigan…lol!) but the things to look at throughout the run keep me entertained.  Cool homes, nice parks and if you’re a fan of Michigan sports…it starts right next to the Big House!  All of this craziness are in preparation for the Big Sur Full Marathon coming later in April!  The training has been kind of fun and nothing on my body has snapped just yet.  So cross your fingers that I can keep things in order and on schedule!

So as promised when I started…I’ve managed a 10 mile race or more each month so far!

January- The Dave’s 10 miler

February-The Great Scott 25K

March- The Great Black Swamp 25K…and The Ann Arbor Half Marathon will be going down!

April will be mostly training miles and the build up to both the Glass City Half Marathon…just one week prior to our trip out to the West Coast!  The Big Sur is for sure my biggest hit on the bucket list!  I plan on taking pictures and just messing around during the race.  The goal is to just finish and not be swept up by the sag wagon…lol!  There’s 6 hour cut off and I have no worries we’ll make it in before that.  This run is all about the fun and taking in the beauty that is California!

I’ll get another blog together very soon.  I know that I’ve been behind but will work hard to keep you all informed.  New glowing Run Zombie Run shirts will be going to print this week so that I can be seen better on the race course.  This was a request by my Aunt and she’s been my number one fan so I’ll get it done!

Still focusing on our friends at BlackJack Animal Rescue!  They’ve been busy re-homing numerous dogs and helping many through some very hard times.  Heartworms have been tough on the Catahoula dogs down south.  It’s painful for them to be cured and the expense is always a challenge for those trying to save them.  So please help out if and when you can!  http://blackjackrescue.org/ is the place to go and they have a paypal button right on the page.  All funds go to help these beautiful creatures.  Tax deductible as well!  So it’s a double bonus!  Be sure to tell Sharon that Zombie sent you!  She’s a great lady doing a huge job with all her volunteers.

I still have plans on getting a virtual 5K together later this year.  I’ll be talking with the people at Jupmode to see about having them do all the shirts and making them available on their website to make things go smoother and easier.  All funds raised from the shirts will then go to Black Jack Rescue!  Stay tuned on this one.

Let’s hope that March is as kind to us as February was.  I like running in more moderate temperatures for sure!  Go out and walk and if you’re doing that, put the ResQwalk app on your phone and place Black Jack Animal rescue in as your preferred pet rescue.  Each time you go walking this app will track your miles.  For each mile you walk, money is then donated to the rescue!  How easy is that?!  So let’s get out there and raise some funds, walk the neighborhoods and save some pups!  Thank again for following along and I look forward to sharing more fun pictures soon!

See you on the road!

~Zombie~

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~

2017…the new challenges!

I just wanted to touch base with everyone and let you know that I’m still holding onto my 30races.com blog and will be doing regular entries over the 2017 racing season.  The main focus this next year will be my love for the Dogs!  Blackjack Animal Rescue has grabbed my heart with the wonderful work they do finding homes for Catahoula Leopard dogs along with numerous other breeds.  Some have been surrendered, many are from high kill shelters that just don’t have the space to keep them and then there are those misplaced souls that have lost their owner and need love for the rest of their lives.

I feel as strongly about helping animals as I do about helping the elderly!  Mobile Meals is still a wonderful outfit and I continue to donate funds on a regular basis to them.

stellastella3Blackjack Rescue is a small non profit organization that’s based in Tennessee but has strong networking all across the country.  I know this as my latest addition to our family is Stella.  Stella is a full blooded Catahoula Leopard dog that was found running on a busy expressway in TN.  She has become the love of our household and I feel the need to help others find these wonderful creatures and see just how much love they have to give.

I’ll be doing my best to raise funds through donations to http://blackjackrescue.org/ and also looking into selling more of my Run Zombie Run t-shirts this season.  I’m hoping to do a big push before I run my last Full Marathon in April of 2017!  Karla and I will be running the Big Sur Marathon out in Sunny California!  This race is listed as a bucket list run and one of the top 5 marathons in the country.  I can’t hardly wait!  My focus is strictly to finish this run!  I want to keep my body intact and come home whole!  lol!!

stella2So stay with me and by all means share Blackjack’s page on Facebook or jump on and give a couple of bucks!  Be sure to tell Sharon that Zombie sent you!  She’ll be thrilled to get the boost!

I’ll see you on the road!

~Zombie~

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

http://offerpop.com//campaign/807684/entry/6549528

RAGNAR!!

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!

~Zombie~

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!

~Zombie~