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!

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!


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 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!  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!


One busy weekend after another

Well this last weekend was one hell of a challenge!  The 25K on Saturday proved to be a tough run…physically and mentally.  The cool breeze turned a bit colder and a little sprinkle started right at about 10 miles.  To go with that, the last 5 miles were on a very straight trail, with a headwind and nothing very exciting to look at.  Ugh!!  My sister and I marched on through and finished averaging just under 10 minute miles.  That’s right where we wanted to be.  Especially knowing that we had another 7K race the following day!

The field for this race and the race the following day was just loaded with great runners!  I’m always amazed to watch others that can run with what appears to be little effort and just fly!  Props to them for being Awesome!!  We kept our pace and finished and that’s what was most important!  My hamstring decided to tighten up first and then the calves got ugly just past the 13 mile mark.  I was grateful for the after care people doing the massages!  Rubbed out the worst of it and I relaxed most of the day on Saturday.

Sunday’s Wearing of the Green 7K was chilly but the wind was nowhere near as bad as last year’s run.  The sun was shining and that’s always a bonus!  Started out easy and picked up the pace right after the first mile.  Turned in a 35:51 and grabbed a medal for being one of the first 61 runners to cross the finish.  Nice little bonus!  I looked over the results of my age group and wow!  Placed 8th out of 12 runners!  The competition in the 45-49 group was…well….just WOW!  The first 3 in the group were all below 7 minute miles!  Such speed!  Again, humbled by the talent level.  I never feel bad about myself though.  I know what I’m capable of and I know that there’s room for improvement…and I will.  The main focus this year and pretty much all the time with me is to enjoy running!  No matter where I run in the pack…I’m happy!  I always keep my focus on that.  I don’t want to get caught up in being faster than everyone else…for me, I just lose focus when I do that and it becomes more of a chore than fun!

This weekend coming will be about the same mileage but in a different set up.  We have a 10K (6.2 miles) on Saturday in Gibsonburg, Ohio.  Zip home, grab a shower and pack for Ann Arbor, Michigan!  Packet pick up there before 4 p.m. and then Sunday morning will be the Ann Arbor Half Marathon (13.1 miles).  Another 20 mile weekend!  Thank God for Becky at Massage Works!!  She rescued me this past Monday!  Thanks to her, I’m able to keep this hamstring moving and continue my journey to finishing all 30 races!

My main message today…focus on the happiness that you get from running!  Don’t worry about times so much or where you are in the pack.  If you start a race, you’re already ahead of those sitting.  If you finish…you’re a star!  Never let go of that!  We all have our own goals and I’m not knocking those that enjoy the speed.  It’s just not what drives me to run.  If I turn in a great time…yep…I’m thrilled!  It just doesn’t make or break me.  I run against myself…always!

Thanks again to my Aunt and Uncle for coming out to cheer for Patti and I this past weekend!  It’s always great to see a smile at the finish line!  Thank you to my wonderful wife for being the best supporter ever!  She keeps me grounded and I always feel loved!

I hope to see more of you Zombies out this Spring!  Be it running, walking or standing at the finish line with a big smile and a Zombie shirt on!

I’ll see you on the road!


Trying to keep it all together

March is looking to be my craziest month thus far and I continue to challenge myself!  Tomorrow will be the run for PI!  3.14 is the official race distance but we all know the story there…it could actually keep going!  (Math nerd moment)

Next weekend will be back to back runs.  A 25K on Saturday and a 7K Sunday morning.  Hoping to get together with family on Sunday and just relax after all the running.  I’ve scheduled a massage for Monday!  I know it’s the smart thing to do after such extremes.  I’ve been out on the road pretty much everyday and hitting the gym 3 times a week!  The weather has forced me to run more than I had planned.  No complaints…I’ve enjoyed the temps and the sunshine, just need to keep the body going for the long haul.  The foot has been behaving and the hamstring is a little tight, but still moving!

I’ve signed up for the Ann Arbor Half marathon on the 29th of the month and now…I’m thinking of going ahead and signing up for a 5K on the 28th before we leave for Ann Arbor!  If I do, I’ll have knocked 5 races in 1 month…Woo Hoo!!  Another massage has been schedule for the day after the Ann Arbor Half as well! 🙂

The first two weeks of the gym weight loss challenge did not go well for me.  My eating was still a bit sloppy and I had a small melt down over it.  (Ask my wife and sister…lol!)  I’m on track now and have been doing much better with my eating.  Finding the balance to be able to maintain some muscle, lose weight and still be able to perform at the level I want during races is an interesting task.  I’ll keep on that!

Looking ahead to other races and dates!  So many races I’d like to do and so little time!  I think my sister and I have agreed on a big challenge in October.  We’re talking about doing the Sleeping Bear Half marathon on Oct 3 and then traveling south a little bit to Frankenmuth and doing a Half Marathon there on Oct 4th!  Back to back big runs!  I think we can kill it…no problem!

September will bring the Smoky Mountain Half Marathon and it looks as though Karla will be up for the task this year!  Going to the mountains is a must…each and every year!  Might as well run a fun race while there…right??

Still toying with a few ideas in November.  Might head back to Bowling Green, KY.  I really enjoyed the Half Marathon there last year.  The Churchill’s Half is in November as well.  I think my head is starting to spin again…lmao!!

I appreciate the support as always!  I love hearing from each and every one of you!  Helping me with Mobile Meals of Toledo has been awesome!!  As always…feel free to lace up and come to a race!  There are many that you can join in and just walk if you wish.  “A body in motion stays in motion!”  I usually list what race I’m running on my Facebook page…you can always come to one of those and yell at me to move my ass too!  I dig that!

Take care and I’ll see you out on the road!


Not young anymore…

Started my leg workout yesterday and on the second set of squats…the back decided to go through one of it’s many issues and knot up!  This has been a regular issue with my back due to numerous car accidents through the years.  (No…not my fault)  So, I decided that squats would have to wait until another day…along with deadlifts.  I went on and finished my legs on machines that would give my back enough support to keep from feeling worse.  Lots of stretching in between sets helped to keep it from getting too crazy!  I also plugged away and did my 45 minutes on the Stairmaster.  God that thing is such a torture device!  3.5 miles, 550 calories and 170 floors climbed.  As usual, I was soaked pretty much head to toe afterwards.

When returning home, I took the motrin and did more stretching to keep the back from freezing up and really hurting.  After a nice shower, an ice pack was in order.  On a positive note, I kept moving and stretching enough that it didn’t tie up further.  I slept good and can still move about today.  So yay!!

I share all of this because I want people to know that you can work through injuries, soreness and aging.  I have 3 pins in my right hip from playing football and being injured at a young age, I also have a lower back and right hip full of arthritis from the above injury and as I stated before, numerous car accidents.  I was told that running would be a bad idea many years ago by my bone doctor.  Well, here I am 30 years later and still running.  I’ve actually found that by staying moving and regular weight training, I’ve kept pain at bay.  The running actually makes my back stay loose and feel better.  My family doctor always says that he’s amazed I don’t hurt more due to the amount of arthritis.  His words “What ever you’re doing…keep doing it because it’s working!”  So there you go…Keep doing it!

Running has not only been my relief from life stress, it’s been my saving grace with injuries and slowing of the aging process.  I feel better every single time I hit the road and run!  Lessons learned…”A body in motion stays in motion!”  We weren’t meant to lay around and do nothing.  Everything about the human body says MOVE!!  So while I’m not the young kid anymore, I’ll continue to fight aging, keep the joints in motion, stretch, lift and enjoy my life in the best way possible.  Keep Moving Everyone!


And so it goes….

We are moving through the final hours of 2014.  There were some spectacular moments during the year and some crazy lows.  I’m sure many of you feel much the same.  2015 holds new hope!  A “do over” if you will.  The slate is clean and begging you to fill it with fun and excitement.

I’ll be ending 2014 running and beginning 2015 running!  I know that this may be a shock to most of you…lol!  My first of 30 races will start tonight at 11:45 p.m. and will finish in the New Year!  Race #1!  29 more to knock down!  I’m excited to start what I’ve been talking and dreaming about for some time.  Tonight promises to be yet another challenge.  Cold and wind will be there to greet me at the starting line.  My iron will and some great running gear will get me through…for that, I have no doubts!

2015…New Years day will be race #2!  The Hangover classic!  What the hell…if I didn’t freeze my butt off during the night run, why not try again around noon time?!  No matter how many times I lace up for a “race”, I’m always nervous and excited.  Wondering what everyone else is feeling, how will I run, how many runners are here…all that and more in my head!

I’d invite you all to come out and join or say hello…but hey, it’s cold outside!!  Whatever you do for the New Year’s, remember to think of your health, your family and what you can do to bring the new year in on a positive note.  Enjoy a drink (but don’t drive!), see some friends, watch a movie, work on a puzzle or hey…Go Running!!  I promise to keep the blogging going throughout the entire year.  I also promise to keep talking about running, health, physical fitness and of course…Mobile Meals of Toledo!  I look forward to making 2015 a great year for them!  I want so much to make a difference and help those that are in need.  I need that for myself more than anything.  With the push of my wonderful wife Karla Neeley and the support of all my friends and family, I plan on getting these 30 races done and done in style!

Be safe tonight and every night.  Happy New Year!  I’ll see you on the road…


2015 Is Game Time!

I’ve been enjoying all the running over the past couple of years more than ever.  I’m not sure what brought the whole thing to such a high, but I’m really enjoying the ride!  Lifting and running have always been a favorite for me.  I’ve described in past blogs how I came to be a runner.  It’s no secret to those who know me that I would rather run than lift any day of the week!  I have, however realized that the two really do go hand in hand.  In order for me to maintain my happy running and stay injury free, I need to keep my strength up.  All runners need a good strong core in order to keep going during the long grueling runs.  The beating that the body takes during a half marathon or a full marathon can be intense!  I’ve also learned that the body is an amazing machine and will respond when you ask it to.  Feed it properly, keep it moving and take the best care you can.  The reward, many happy years of activity!

Now back to the build up.  I pushed myself towards the end of 2014 to see if I could hold up by doing 5 half marathons over 8 weeks.  Not only was I able to complete the task, I felt wonderful!  I knew I wanted to challenge my body again for the upcoming year and was thinking; I’ve been running for 30 years, why not run 30 races!?  To add to that, I decided to take the focus off of me and put it on something even more important.  People in need.  I contacted Mobile Meals of Toledo and asked if they would be interested in helping set something up to help raise money for them.  After a couple emails and a sit down, the website came to life!  This blog ( was started with the help of my wonderful cousin Marilyn Matevia.  In short order, things seemed to be falling into place.  I couldn’t be more proud.  Along with that, a small amount of stress.  The stress is placed upon myself to succeed!  Not just to run the races but to make a serious difference for the charity that I’ve chosen to help.  Mobile Meals of Toledo is a great outfit that really takes a tiny budget to do great things!

So…It’s Game Time!  2015 is coming up quick!  My body is ready to go!  I’ve cut down on my eating, picked up on my gym workouts, kept my running at a steady pace, I think I’m good to go!  I plan on being a very lean and well oiled machine by the end of the adventure.  I have great hopes and dreams of doing a good thing in my life.  Making a difference!  So stay with me people!  Enjoy this adventure with me…because 2015 Is Game Time!


Keeping the body going and

After waking up with a few extra aches and pains the past few mornings, I realized that I was overdue for a massage!  If you’re not a fan or have never had one, I highly recommend that you get one on a regular basis.  It’ll cut down on sore and tired parts and in my opinion, trips to the doctor’s office.

Calves and feet have been the biggest problems of late and my friend Becky Koskinen (owner of Massage Works) has done wonders over the years keeping me on the road.  I’ve had lower back issues, hip, shoulder…hell, just about everywhere!  From working out, running or just injuries from car accidents in my past, she keeps me up and moving.

Today after leaving her place, my feet felt so much better!  I have a long run scheduled for tomorrow a.m. and was really worried it was going to be a painful one.  I think I’m good to go!  I made Becky promise me today…that she’d keep me in one piece and mobile over the next year so that I can complete this challenge I’ve set for myself.  She agreed and I’m holding her to it.  Thanks Becky!!

The race calendar is up and I’m starting to fill dates.  Just go to and you can follow all my races throughout the year from the calendar.  Remember that if you want to sponsor me per race or just a one time donation, you can do it through the website as well.  As always…all the monies donated on there go directly to Mobile Meals of Toledo!  I receive nothing but the satisfaction of knowing that people care and want to help me make a difference.  If there are any corporate or small businesses that want to sponsor on a larger scale, feel free to contact me.  We can set your company logo up on the website.  A sponsor page can be added and I would also be happy to add your logo to my running shirt that I’ll be wearing during the races.

All donations are tax-deductible of course as Mobile Meals of Toledo is a non-profit organization.  I’ll keep everyone in the know as time keeps going and look for more things to come on the website!  Video will be added as we get to the races at the beginning of the year.  Everything from quick chats about why I run so much, to why I chose Mobile Meals of Toledo.  There will be video of me running in the races at start, during and/or finish lines.  Of course there may be some kind of silly bloopers as well!  Nothing ever goes smooth in my shoes…lol!

Continue to follow the journey!  It’s only going to get better!