The Final Four!

I’m so excited to say it…The Final Four Races!!  Early on in this adventure I thought I’d fail for sure.  The injury bug came to visit early and often during the first couple months.  With some good workouts, a great massage therapist (Becky at Massage Works) and of course Dr. Odeh at Genoa Medical I’ve made it this far!

The Final Four are as follows:

10/11/15 http://runtoledo.com/macqueens-run-for-your-life-10k-5k/ The MacQueen’s Run for your life will be tomorrow morning in Holland, Ohio!  Run begins at 9 a.m.

10/17/15 http://www.davesraces.com/ The Trick or Trot 5K and Zombie Walk!  This one starts at 9 a.m. also and will be at Fallen Timbers Mall.

11/8/5 http://www.monroehalfmarathon.com/  The Monroe Half Marathon!  My favorite running distance and just a stone throw from the Toledo area.

11/14/15  The Big Race #30!!  http://www.davesraces.com/  The 48th Annual Churchill’s Half Marathon!  One of the oldest races in the area and of course…13.1 Miles of Awesome!  I felt that the last race had to be a good one and I wanted to stay local for the finish!  This race has always been a challenge.  It will start at Perrysburg High School at 9 a.m. and finish at Fallen Timbers shopping Mall!  I invite anyone and everyone to come on out!  I would love to see Zombies all over the course with smiles, cheers and maybe a cow bell or two!  I do run faster with the sound of a cow bell…just sayin!

Please feel free to go back through some of my blogs throughout the year.  I’ve done this a few times to reflect!  I’ve also gone through my Facebook page Run Zombie Run.  So many pictures of the things I’ve seen and the places I’ve traveled through the year!  All of the amazing support I’ve received!!  I can never thank my friends, family and co-workers enough!  All the funds that have been raised for Mobile Meals of Toledo!  I’ll get together a grand total at the end of the year along with some fun stats on how many miles I’ve covered racing, how many miles (approximately) I’ve run in training and some of the challenges that I’ve faced through the year.

The past couple of races have been fantastic!  The Smoky Mountain’s Half Marathon in mid September was very hilly and beautiful!  My sister Patti and Karla both ran this one and had a blast!  I posted a much better time this year on the course at 1:58:30.  I was super thrilled with it due to the hills and humidity!  Mid 60’s and 95% humidity!  I was soaked all the way through by the finish line!

The next Half marathon was in upper Michigan.  The Sleeping Bear Dunes Half!  Outstanding course!  Seriously!  If you ever get the chance to run this race or just go and visit the area…do it!  Cool temperatures with a touch of wind at the start of this race.  My sister and I both felt really good and kept a positive attitude the whole way through!  It paid off!  1:51:47 was my time and a new PR!  With the conditions and the hills in the race…I was just floored!  My sister broke into tears after coming across the finish at 1:51:51!  Not only was it a huge jump in time for her but she scored 3rd place in her age group!  So proud!

So here we go!  The Final Four!  The Big push to reach the Finish!!  I need all the help I can get to make this!  The time for Zombies is now!

I’ll see YOU…on the road!

~Zombie~

Loss and the road ahead

Robert W. "Bob" Neeley, December 1, 1936 - August 6, 2015

Robert W. “Bob” Neeley, December 1, 1936 – August 6, 2015

On August 6, 2015 my Father, Robert W. Neeley passed away.  A strong-willed and passionate man passed these very same traits onto his children.  The words “I can’t do it” were not allowed in our home.  While we didn’t always see eye to eye over the years, I admired his drive and wanted so much to be noticed by him.  During the last weeks he was alive, I was able to have some good conversations with him and found that he was a fan of the Run Zombie Run campaign.  He asked how I was feeling and was I looking forward to getting all 30 races completed.  I told him of the many obstacles I had faced over the past months: the hamstring, the groin and several different foot issues.  He kind of chuckled and said…”You’ll be fine and you’ll finish this because you’re my son.”  That was an amazing moment for me!  My Father was never very good at telling you how proud he was of you.  He had no problem telling others all about your accomplishments, but to say them to you…very rare.  I was kind of choked up and said, “Wow!”  He chuckled again and told me to just keep running and he’d be proud to see me finish the 30 races.

Well, he decided to leave before the big party for the 30 races.  I’ll be at #24 next weekend.  He may not be here to share in the festivities then, but he’s with me now as I run every mile!  I’ve been challenged to run 100 miles during the month of August by my good friend Brian “Monk” Taylor.  I decided to take on that challenge and dedicate the miles to my father – the man who has given me the strength to always push, never quit and to be the very best!  Dad may have had a hard time sharing his feelings but I know in my heart that he loved me and was proud of what I’ve been able to accomplish thus far in my life.

I’m over 70 miles for the month of August and just 7 races away from completing the 30 races I’ve set out to run.  I know I’ll get it done… my Dad told me so and I won’t let him down.  I’ll continue to have my chats with him on the open road.  We all know that’s where I find my serenity.  Strength, drive, passion…yeah…that’s my Father.

For my friends at Mobile Meals of Toledo…I’ve got your back!  I’ll get this done and continue to raise awareness of the many needs you folks have.  To those that are fighting and surviving cancer…I’ve got your back as well!  I’ll carry you on my skin, on my clothing and in my heart. For you Dad… I’ll never quit!

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~

Running for others

While I always go out and enjoy each and every run, I feel even better (before, during and after) when there’s purpose!  I’ve found that my celebration of the 30 years I’ve been running has been one of the most fulfilling times in my life thus far!  I teamed up with Mobile Meals of Toledo to raise funds and awareness of hunger and the need to help feed those in need.  Along with this, I’ve had numerous people in my life come upon hard times.  Sickness and health issues seem to be hitting many that I care for.  While I’m unable to assist in their recovery first hand, I can bring attention, show compassion and care for them as a person.  I can let them know that they matter and that others think of them.

Valory Newton, from her public Facebook page

Valory Newton, from her public Facebook page

I’ll be running for a 9-year-old little girl this weekend and probably for several other races.  Valory Newton is fighting bone cancer at this time.  She’s lost a leg but continues to be a positive and loving little girl.  I want nothing more than for her to be able to feel better and live the life that so many of us enjoy.  My sister Gini Feller shared her story with me and asked that I dedicate some miles to her.  I will do so with great honor!  I’ll throw some pink into my wardrobe, place her name upon my arm and carry her as far as I possibly can!  Thank you so much Gini for bringing this to my attention and for asking me to share in her recovery.  Again, I’m honored.

Valory…I want you to focus on getting well!  I want you to stay strong and overcome this illness that’s come into your body.  I also want you to know that I care!  I want you to be able to dance again one day soon!

For those of you out there that run or walk, dedicate some miles to this beautiful little girl.  Visit her Facebook page:  Valory Fighting Dancer.  I think you’ll agree, she’s worth our attention!  I look forward to running this Sunday and just know that by having this young lady’s name on my arm I’ll run well!  I continue to run with purpose!  I will also continue to run for others!  My message today is simple…look beyond yourself, think of Valory, think of my friend Ann who continues her journey to become healthy again.  They need us and it’s our duty to help!

So get out there and run for others and I’ll see you on the road!

Zombie