The Market To Market Relay (OHIO)

One of the races I had marked as a bucket list run was the Market To Market Relay Race.  This race is much like the Ragnar Relay Series minus the overnight running.  The idea is that some 200 teams (that’s the cap) start out running from the Cincinnati area and go continuously until they reach Dayton.  The race starts with a first wave going out at 5 a.m. and then roll through every 20 minutes until all teams have started.  We were wave 5 and launched at 6:40 a.m. on Saturday 9/9/17.21368767_10212394940022253_2995443330828422284_o

The team was really a smaller group of our team from the Ragnar Relays.  Made up of Karla Neeley, Stan Roberts, Amy Browning, Vicki Lynch, Patti Neeley and myself.  We were part of the over 40 division…lol!  Four of us were over 50 and two were at the tender age of 48!  With all that experience and silliness, this was going to be epic!

Pre-dawn out of Milford, Ohio is when we started rolling.  Amy would be the first of our Freaks On Parade (yeah…that’s our team name) to start the 76 mile hop to Dayton-town.  I was excited right from the get go!  The weather looked to be great, the winds were light and we had a touch of cloud cover hovering over us for the first part of the relay.  95% of the run was on a bike trail, so we didn’t have a lot of worry of vehicles flying by as we ran.  The trail was covered by mature trees and had beautiful wild flowers along the route.  Passing by small towns, parks, rivers and just stunning scenery was perfect!21559052_10212398547152429_6885560827382982748_n

There were 18 exchange sites that we needed to get to while a runner was out on the trail.  This made for even more fun as you hit the back roads of Ohio and got to see towns that I’d never seen.  I kept saying that it was hard to believe we were actually moving forward because it seemed like we were just driving in circles and around curvy roads.  The exchange areas were anything from parks to a Big K or Kmart store…lmao!  Everything was very well-organized and with Karla keeping track of everyone’s in and out times…how could we go wrong?!  21557903_10212396805228882_4191596888514505318_n

While in the van there was plenty of time for chit-chat, laughter and of course snacks! If you run all the miles…you get to eat all the food!  With each exchange, there was a new buzz of excitement.  When a runner returned from their leg, they’d share what they had seen on the run, how many runners that might have passed and conversation they had along the route. Sharing the experience was fun and let you enjoy what your teammate went through while running the trail.  As for passing other runners.  In the Ragnar Relay Series, this is referred to as a “Kill”.  Well, being that we were running to raise awareness and funds for Blackjack Animal Rescue, it just didn’t feel right calling it a “Kill”.  So the idea of calling it a “Wag” developed…lol!  We believe in no kill shelters for all dogs so it was agreed upon that if you passed another runner, it was a “Wag”!  I can tell you that we had quite a few Wags along the way!  Very proud of my team!  To go with the theme, we had a mini-van with a giant blow up dog strapped to the roof and Patti drew several super cute dogs on the windows of our van.  Karla had purchased dog balloons to add to the fun.  We ended up tying them to the back seat and every time we opened the hatch of the van, out popped the dogs!  Just “letting the dogs out” is what I’d say at a stop!

Once we got into the Dayton area and everyone had finished their run other than Patti, she was our clean-up or our Final runner that would cross the finish line.  We collected the dog balloons, waited for her to be about .02 miles away from the finish and ran to the finish line with our dogs in tow.  It was big fun and I’m sure had people chuckling as we came in.  Once we finished, our next mission was to find some cute kids and pass the dog balloons off to them.  What kid doesn’t like a balloon?!  Mission Accomplished!  Some of the sweetest little faces were thrilled to receive a balloon to take home with them.  I’m smiling just typing this and thinking about the adorable little girl that I gave my balloon to.21369399_10212394867780447_7320893948158576631_n

Once we got back to our hotel, everyone was absolutely spent from the day.  We shared a quiet dinner together at our hotel, enjoyed adult beverages together and shared more stories from the day.  This adventure turned out to be everything I could have hoped for and more!  Everyone got along so well, ran like the wind and enjoyed the experience.  76 miles covered in under 12 hours.  We ran an average pace of 9:05 minute miles.  No one was injured and everyone had a blast!

We took quite a few pictures and of course shared all the van pics with Blackjack Animal Rescue.  I’m hopeful that people get to know Blackjack better and understand the fine work they’re doing to save pups!  I’d love it if anyone could throw a few bucks their way in honor of this fun-filled race!  blackjackrescue.org.  Even $5.00 can make a difference in a dog’s life.21457406_10210193990868211_2093821647078098802_o

Thanks for following the Run Zombie Run group and for taking the time to read about the adventures of the Freaks On Parade!

I’ll see you on the road!

~Zombie~

 

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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.

stellagoosecooper

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~

Glass City To Big Sur!

April ended up being a big month for running!  Both in total miles covered and two of the finest races of the year for me.  I ran 120 miles in the month of April and did my last full marathon ever.  I swore years ago that I’d never put myself through everything it takes to do a full marathon.  Then…Big Sur International Marathon happened!  18155864_10209150280216097_4137739708225761934_o

The ultimate in bucket list races on the planet…really!  If you have the desire to run at least a 21 mile race, the Big Sur is an absolute must for any runner!  The course is drop dead gorgeous from start to finish!

Calling it challenging is truly an understatement.  Rolling hills and the ever-changing tilt of the road will make any runner question whether they’ll make it the full distance.  This race has you waking up at a crazy early hour to catch a bus at about 3:30 a.m.  From there you’re hauled the entire course from Carmel, CA all the way to Big Sur for the starting line.  Once there you get yourself comfortable on a slab of ground, finish hydrating, snacking, etc and then just wait (and wait) for the gun to go off.  It’s kind of a runner’s village.  Bodies are all over the place – eating, stretching and chit-chatting.  Potties are all around the village…lol!  This is always a welcome sight when you’ve had your “runner’s routine” thrown off by the early hours.  The first call for Wave 3 to line up comes at about 6:15 a.m. and from there they go down to the super fast people and the “Elite” runners.  Once everyone is bunched together, they start rolling out the waves every 5 minutes.  Karla and I went out in wave number 2 and I have to tell you…I thought my heart was going to explode with excitement!  So many things were running through my head.  Could I make the full distance?… Would I beat the sweepers who pull you off the course with a cut off time of 6 hours?… And most importantly, did I train enough to handle the beating my body was about to take?  All those questions and more seemed to just fade away as the views of the course started to catch you.  I was lost in the beauty of the California coastline from the word go!  There were people in all areas of the course to cheer you on, feed you, make sure you had enough water or Gatorade plus the all important first aid areas if you had any issues.  Bands playing, guitars cranking, a huge group of people playing drums and at the half way point…a gentleman playing a Grand Piano!  Yeah…a piano! 18157979_10211196024370111_1813955384630513255_n Breathtaking!  I have never enjoyed a race so much in my entire 32 years of running!

By mile 19 I had developed a stomach issue caused by GU.  I know better than to use the stuff for high mileage races but for some reason grabbed one at an aid station anyway.  By mile 21 it seemed to have faded away and by mile 21.2, Karla and I knew that we had enough time in the bank that we could walk the rest of the way in and beat the cut off time. 18157190_10211196028570216_3846343117360549278_n So for “most” of the last few miles we walked and just enjoyed everything that this course had to offer.  We did pick up and cross-country shuffle on a few of the down hills and of course towards the end when you could hear them calling out names.  I took my bride by the hand and we crossed the finish together!  Strong and happy!

I fell in love with this race and Carmel, CA in general.  I will try to return and run the 21 miler or one of the other numerous distances they have to offer.  I will absolutely return to Carmel, CA as I believe Karla and I have some unfinished adventures awaiting us there.

Now to back track a touch…  The Sunday prior to leaving for California we ran in the Glass City Half Marathon.  It fit into our training schedule and hey… it’s home turf!  The expo and packet pick-up were super fun!  Lots of running goodies to be had and maybe even a few running friends there to chat with.

While Toledo is a smaller market, they put on one hell of a race!  Quality shirts, beautiful bling, race tracking/timing… you name it and they’ve thought of it!  The race runs through some fun neighborhoods with loads of people out cheering you on.  If you go the distance and do the full marathon, it takes you through Wildwood park and out into the Sylvania area.  The course is well thought out and executed to perfection!  Toledo RoadRunners (the local running club) is an awesome group of people who want to make sure everyone has a great experience.  Attention to detail is what sets them apart from other races and it shows.  I just can’t say enough good things about my RoadRunner’s club.  I’m proud to be a part of this group!

I’ll continue to run throughout the Summer and into Fall of course.  I’m done with the 26.2 mileage for good.  I have no regrets in saying that I’m done with marathons.  My distance of choice has always been 13.1 or the Half Marathon.  I’ll be running with a team in the Market to Market Relay in September this year and can’t wait to share that experience with you all as well!  We’ll be running as a team of six and will cover some 76 miles with 19 exchanges.  It’ll start in Cincinnati Ohio and travel back to Dayton for the Finish.  Kind of like the Ragnar Relay but with a shorter distance to cover (and hopefully a less “aromatic” van life ;-).

I’ll be running the 419 Series starting this month and ending in October.  I’ve listed the races below.

Long Track
WTOL River Run 10K
Muddy Mini Half Marathon
OH/MI 8K
Boy Scout Half Marathon
MacQueens 10K

I’m staying with my promise to run at least a 10 mile race each month of the 2017 running season.  I’m doing this because I love running…duh!  I’m also doing this to raise more funds for BlackJack Animal Rescue.  I ask on a regular basis for anyone to share a few bucks with this worthwhile organization and save the lives of fur babies.  BlackJack works tirelessly to make sure they save as many dogs as possible.  They’re based out of the Tennessee area but stretch all over the country with fosters and other fine people who do everything for the dogs.  I ask also that you Like and Follow them on Facebook.  This will give you first hand knowledge of which dogs are available for adoption and also the stories on how they’ve come to find some of these special creatures.  I’m humbled by the amount of work that they do and proud to wear the BlackJack logo on the back of my race shirts!  Please go to http://blackjackrescue.org/ and donate.  They even do a $5.00 Friday each week!  You might be the difference maker in a dog’s life and that…is priceless!mikesraceshirt

Summer is sneaking up on us and I know that I’m in need of cleaning up my eating habits.  I have volleyball to think about and I absolutely need to focus on my core strength.  I want to be the healthiest and most fit I can be at 50 years old.  I’m also asking that you make a change in your life too.  Go out and take a walk each day or go for a bike ride.  Take up running… it’s never too late!  Can I just tell you that the oldest runner at the Big Sur Marathon was 80 years young!  Think about that for a moment – 80 years old and doing a 26.2 mile marathon.  Just throwing that out there because people like that inspire me to keep going and keep moving.  You don’t have to be a runner to stay active, you just need to go out and play!  Turn the child inside of you loose for a while and see what happens.  Who knows… you just might find yourself lined up at the next Glass City Marathon or out in California doing the Big Sur!  Never say never!

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~

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~

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~

Keep the Focus!

We’re working through the second week of training and thus far I feel pretty good!  I’m staying focused on keeping my miles where they need to be and getting to the gym 2-3 times each week to maintain my strength.  Doing the core work and eating better will help I’m sure.  I really hate carrying the extra weight but know that in time that’ll be corrected. I always feel better when I’m a bit lighter and my speed will improve as well.  On Task!

I’ve signed up for group of runs that’ll be done here locally. http://runtoledo.com/runthe419/ I’ve run a couple of them in the past years but there are some that have been brought back from my past.  The Channel 11 River Run was one that I remember running in the wayyyyy back!  I like the idea of running the streets of Toledo and reliving memories of yesteryear.  Brings a smile to my face just thinking about it.  For those of you that are here in town…you need to come out to these and cheer!  If you have the time…volunteer!  I’ve never known a race director to turn away free help!

I have my sights set on a couple of my Winter favorites.  The Great Scott 25K was big fun the last time through and I absolutely must run it again. February 19th at Oak Openings Metro park.  The next favorite is the Great Black Swamp Festival of Races! FALLEN TIMBERS MIDDLE SCHOOL, 6119 Finzel Rd, Whitehouse, OH 43571.  For those of you who have followed Run Zombie Run you may remember that I love this race because of the “Memory Mile” at the end of the race.  Signs posted everywhere of special people that we’ve loved and lost.  I find myself fighting tears and emotion during this final mile.  All the names just make you realize how precious and short life really is.  It’s a must to come out to this one!

I’m keeping with the challenge to run at least a 10 mile (OR More) during each month of 2017!  I’ll run some of the super fun 5K’s as well but want to keep at the Big Runs!  The idea is to maintain big mileage but stay healthy to make it through the entire 2017 race season.

The Race shirt for this year is a dark Gray Nike DriFit.  We have white letters for the Run Zombie Run and an Orange Zombie!  New this year is an Orange Zombie Dog!  This year’s focus is on Blackjack Animal Rescue.  blackjackrescue.org  I want people to know the kind of work that’s going on in the world out there so that we can keep hope.  Sharon Bryant and so many others that she’s networked with do hard work for the love of these animals.  They want nothing in return but to know that they’ve made a difference and saved one of God’s creatures.  How can you not want to help a group like that?  I’ll talk about them more in future blogs and continue to find ways to raise funds to help their operation.  Feel free at anytime to get on their website and make a donation!  Tell them that Zombie sent you in the comments…it’ll make Sharon smile!

I hate to get too much ahead of myself but I will tell you that I’m looking into a possible Virtual 5K again this year!  My Tattoo artist told me today that he’d be happy to do artwork for shirts and you know…we just might have to do that because it sure was fun the last time!  I’ll look into getting a sponsor or two to cover the cost of the shirts and printing so that every dollar can be sent to Blackjack Animal Rescue!  If there’s interest…I may look into doing regular (soft) T-shirts that mimic my Run Zombie Run Race shirt!  Reach out and let me know if it’s something I need to look into.

I always like to close by telling you all that I appreciate you following me on these journeys in my life.  I love that people become inspired and want to do good for others as well as themselves.  Remember the human body was meant to be in motion!  Go out and enjoy the winter…don’t just hide from it.  There’s a certain peace in walking on a crisp Winter day!  Download the ResQwalk App on your phone and turn that on while walking as well!  If you put Blackjack Animal Rescue in as your chosen rescue…every mile you walk they’ll donate funds to the rescue!  How cool is that?  So get out and go!

I’ll see you on the road!

~Zombie~